Cyclists and joggers may be breathing easier this morning following the arrest Monday afternoon, January 6, of three men suspected of a rash of criminal activity along the banks of Buffalo Bayou in west Houston. The popular Terry Hershey Park Hike and Bike Trail was the scene of several armed robberies and one sexual assault over the past weeks, including one cyclist who was stopped and robbed in December. The crimes took place in the heavily-traveled section of the trail between Highway 6 and Beltway 8, and included the armed robbery of an elderly jogger near Dairy Ashford Road and the assault of a female jogger in a park bathroom at Eldridge Parkway on Friday, January 3.
Harris County Sheriff's deputies blanketed the trail, which sees hundreds of joggers, hikers and cyclists at peak hours, with undercover officers including canine handlers. They are holding three male suspects who were arrested at an apartment complex near Memorial Drive and Dairy Ashford late Monday. The three were found in possession of a stolen vehicle and "bags and bags" of possibly stolen property following an anonymous tip to the police.
Park users seem surprised by the activity in what is normally a peaceful stretch that is at times relatively isolated. A few wondered aloud why warnings about the criminal activity were not posted at the entrances to the trail. The incidents call to mind a rash of robbery-assaults along the Columbia Tap Trail east of downtown Houston in summer, 2013. Local residents and trail users have said that they will remain vigilant even though the arrests were made.