In December of 2021, a Houston-area man was arrested and charged with breaking into people’s homes to rob them of their hard-to-find PlayStation 5 consoles. The man, 20-year-old Jeremiah Fernandez, faces two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of theft. He allegedly connected with sellers online and then robbed them after agreeing to purchase the console in person.
“It just shows that he’s willing to do, in this case, what it takes to get what he wants,” says Harris County prosecutor Nick Toups. “When the victims were willing to give up the item, waiting for that payment through the processing app, there was no [weapon] produced. But when they weren’t, and they questioned what was going on, he was willing to take out that [weapon] and threaten them with it to get the PS5 he wanted.”
The state requested for the judge to deny Fernandez bail, due to the violent nature of his charges. Police believe that more victims could be out there that have yet to come forward. Police urge anyone with information regarding the case to contact the HPD’s Major Offenders Division at 713-308-3100.
Fernandez is far from the only person accused of such conduct. Electronic systems like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch are extremely popular and hard to purchase for MSRP currently. Resellers on secondhand sites like eBay commonly list these items for several times their retail price.
Criminals are seizing this opportunity to make a quick buck. Police urge owners of these systems to take care to avoid attention from violent thieves. If you plan to sell one of these systems, agree only to meet prospective buyers in police department parking lots. Many police departments even have areas set aside for online exchanges.
Some criminals have even begun breaking into the homes of people who have received electronics in the mail. Since most modern systems aren’t available in retail stores, shoppers must turn to online shipping. As such, police encourage customers to take in their packages immediately and not allow criminals a chance to scoop them off of their porches.
Likewise, owners of these systems should keep their curtains or blinds drawn to keep criminals from seeing their valuables. Authorities advise homeowners to keep their valuables out of sight from guests and contractors, too. The fewer people know about your belongings, the better. You never know who might try to steal your valuable electronics!