The Houston Police Officers Union awarded Officer Michael Zientek its Investigator of the Month honor in the November general membership meeting in connect with Zientek’s work involving thefts from 43 different U-Haul storage units in Kingwood.
As detailed by HPOU’s Luis Menendez-Sierra, the officer began his investigation on April 10 and learned that another six storage facilities had been burglarized – a total of 60 individual storage units therein – hit by what he believed to be the same two suspects.
Zientek “encumbered countless obstacles in this investigation,” Menendez-Sierra explained in the citation commemorating the officer’s work. “As many complainants were unaware that their storage lockers had been burglarized. Many of them were not only victims of residential displacement as a result of Hurricane Harvey but were now learning that their remaining personal possessions had been stolen.”
The officer recovered thousands of items and graciously spent his off days returning them to their rightful owners. “In doing so,” Menendez-Sierra said, “he procured alternative secure storage means within the community and scheduled appointments for the complainants to recover property stolen from them in a seamless fashion.”
In all, the stolen articles were valued at more than $100,000. Zientek oversaw the return of these items to their rightful owners, a monumental task that entailed numerous search warrants, individual inventories from more than 100 individual burglaries.
Both suspects were arrested by the Kingwood Priority Investigations Union (PIU) and charged with aggravated felony theft – multiple complainants and burglary of a building.
Menendez-Sierra said, “If it were not for his unrelenting tenacity in the integrity of his investigation, these complainants would likely never have seen their possessions again and these criminals would have continued burglarizing.”