Arrest made in string of J.C. Penney heists

Investigators recovered $3.5 million of merchandise during arrest


COVINGTON, La. -- A Texas man has been arrested in connection with a string of burglaries at JC Penney stores from Covington, La., to Indianapolis.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office released this surveillance image from the burglary at the Covington JC Penney.

St. Tammany Parish officials said the Aug. 16 theft from the JC Penney store in Covington was likely the largest burglary in the parish's history.

Arrested is Hector Castillo, thought to be the mastermind behind the department store burglaries in Texas, Indiana and Louisiana.

Castillo may not be his real name. He's known to have 27 aliases and 16 different Social Security numbers. He was arrested Tuesday in Pasadena, Texas.

Sheriff Jack Strain said Castillo has confessed to the crimes.

Investigators also recovered more than $3.5 million worth of merchandise, most from the house where Castillo was arrested and two storage locations.

Strain would not say if Castillo is one of the two men seen in surveillance video from the Covington burglary, but he did say the suspect -- who is still in Texas -- is cooperating.

Castillo is expected to be returned to St. Tammany Parish in the coming weeks, even as other jurisdictions where burglaries occurred issue arrest warrants of their own.

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