Authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in finding additional victims of a former deputy constable accused of stealing from Vietnamese businesses while in uniform, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Tuesday.
“He used a badge to coerce, intimidate and steal and we believe there are more victims who have yet to come forward,” Ogg said. “The community needs to know that everyone is accountable under the law whether they are wearing a uniform or not.”
Bobby Joe Espinosa, 39, was indicted Monday on two charges of bribery and one charge of theft by a public servant of more than $2,500 and less than $30,000. Both bribery charges are second-degree felonies, punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. The theft charge is a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Anyone who believes they were victimized by Espinosa is encouraged to call the District Attorney’s Office at 713-274-5910.
Espinosa is accused of going into Vietnamese businesses in north Houston in the area of FM 1960 and Veterans Memorial and threatening them to give him money. He allegedly took money from cash registers and tip jars and even pried open game machines for cash. The businesses were often owned and operated by immigrants who were scared because he was a law enforcement officer.
He also is accused of soliciting payments from at least two businesses from November 2021 to April 2022 in exchange for not investigating them.
“He was going in to steal from them and solicit bribes,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Harrison said.
Espinosa was first charged with theft in April and fired from the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. The extensive investigation that followed led authorities to believe that there are many other possible victims who are still afraid to come forward.
The theft charge and subsequent counts of bribery were made public with Monday’s indictments.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office initiated the investigation.
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