Burglary Ring Busted

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HOUSTON - (04/13/06) -- The central figure in a bank andcredit union burglary ring pleaded guilty last week to bankburglary charges after he was extradited from Costa Rica, where hehad been hiding. David Thomas Hughes, 33, a renown safecracker,admitted participating in eight bank and credit union burglariessince 2001, reaping as much as $2 million that he split with hisaccomplices. Hughes, a former locksmith, was identified by one ofhis partners, Keith Bailey, after a failed heist at CommunityResource CU, in Baytown, Texas, on August 4, 2003, according to aplea deal reviewed by The Credit Union Journal. Hughes tripped asilent alarm while trying to cut into the vault with a torch in theearly morning hours. When police arrived Hughes and Bailey steppedoutside the credit union, but Hughes, an accomplished long-distancerunner, escaped, leaving Bailey behind. Two other accomplices,Terrance Veltman, 48, and Thomas Davis, 46, have also pleadedguilty and face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in June.The group's biggest robbery was of Elgin Bank, in Elgin, Texas,where they stole $688,000.

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