An Edinburg couple is in trouble with McAllen police over allegations they violated the shelter-in-place order in March to go furniture shopping and for filing a false report claiming a man posing as law enforcement stole one of their vehicles.
Both Homero Aleman, 25, and Julia Michelle Segovia, 23, are charged with filing a false report and with violating Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez’s March 25 emergency order in response to the novel coronavirus.
Authorities arrested Segovia on April 28 and took Aleman into custody on July 30. Both received a total of $2,000 in personal recognizance bonds and are no longer in jail, records show.
The investigation began on March 31, less than a week after Cortez signed the emergency order, when Aleman called McAllen police to report that someone posing as a police officer pulled him over at around 2 p.m. at 1800 West E/B Frontage Road and stole his 2006 Chrysler Town & Country Van, according to a probable cause affidavit.
“Homero stated that he was pulled over by a red Mercury Grand Marquis with red and blue lights,” the charging document stated. “Homero stated that he pulled over and an unknown male wearing dark clothing with a gun holstered at his hip asked him to step out of the vehicle.”
Aleman told the responding officer that he believed the man was law enforcement so he stepped out of the van and waited by the curb, police say.
“Homero stated the unknown male entered his vehicle and drove off as the red Grand Marquis followed,” the probable cause affidavit stated. “Homero also stated a white truck was involved and followed the vehicle.”
The man told investigators he couldn’t call for help because his cellphone was in the van, according to authorities.
“Homero stated Julia arrived because they were supposed to meet at a business in McAllen,” the probable cause affidavit stated.
That document says Aleman and Segovia are engaged.
When police interviewed Segovia, she said she was waiting for Aleman at a business in McAllen and drove around to look for him when he didn’t arrive, locating him at 1800 West E/B Frontage Road, the charging document stated.
When she found him, Aleman called police, authorities say.
Both Segovia and Aleman went to the McAllen Police Department where they provided recorded statements that were the same as what they told responding officers and by April 4, investigators had obtained warrants for their arrest, police say.
A detective investigating the couple determined they had made previous arrangements to meet at a predetermined location in McAllen at a business that had been closed due to the shelter-at-home order, according to the charging document.
“Homero and Julia also violated the Shelter at Home Order issued on March 25, 2020 for Hidalgo County,” the probable cause affidavit stated. “Both Homero and Julio admitted to leaving their residence to go to a furniture store in McAllen and look for at living room sets thus violating said order.”
As for the supposed van theft, Aleman told the detective he never saw a badge on the man who “pulled” him over, according to police.
“Homero stated he approached several Road Construction workers and asked to borrow a phone,” the charging document stated.
He said he first called Segovia and then called 9-1-1 at 2:12 p.m., saying the incident happened at 2 p.m., police say.
When asked about the construction worker, both Segovia and Aleman told the detective that they didn’t want to get him involved, according to the detective.
“Construction workers at scene stated they did not see any kind of commotion in reference to what Homero was claiming,” the probable cause affidavit stated.
A few hours later, authorities discovered the van on a dirt road in Donna, police say.
“Detectives observed the vehicle to be ransacked and the compartments to the van were all opened,” the probable cause affidavit stated. “McAllen Police K9 unit responded to the scene to help with the processing of the vehicle. Detective was advised that the K9 alerted twice in and outside the vehicle. Indicating the possibility of narcotics or money were in the vehicle.”
A review of surveillance video also cast doubt on Aleman’s claims, police say.
“Neither the victim or suspect vehicles were seen on surveillance footage at the time Homero had advised,” the probable cause affidavit stated.
The detective did, however, find the vehicles in footage 30 minutes before Aleman claimed the incident happened. In the affidavit, the detective said both vehicles were driving with the flow of traffic and there were no red and blue flashing lights.
A review of a phone extraction also revealed that the number Aleman used to contact Segovia did not belong to the construction and had been used on two previous occasions before March 31 to contact Segovia, police say.