HOUSTON (CN) – Houston attorney Tony Buzbee turned a Monday morning robbery of millions of dollars in artwork and jewelry from his home into material for his mayoral campaign, telling supporters at a campaign rally Monday night, “We better do something about the crime in this town.”
Buzbee said in a Facebook post he woke up around 6 a.m. Monday to find one person, possibly two, in his 11,813-square foot mansion. He had hosted a Super Bowl party there Sunday night.
“Also in my home was my son and daughter,” Buzbee wrote. “Luckily, I was armed, and ran the subject out of my home, and but for the fact that my weapon misfired, I would have shot one of them.”
He added, “We are still trying to determine what all these scumbags stole from me, but the most important thing to me is that my kids weren’t hurt.”
Buzbee, a former Marine, gave a slightly different account of the incident at a rally for his mayoral campaign at a Houston bar Monday night where he treated the crowd to an open bar and appetizers.
He said he called police around 6 a.m. when he saw someone riding a moped in his front yard. He said the moped had been taken from his garage, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Buzbee told the crowd that after he went upstairs to check on his children the burglar re-entered the home. The mayoral hopeful said he aimed his gun at the intruder.
“I told him, step back, and I was going to fire my weapon at him,” he said. “Now, you think I want to fire my weapon at somebody? That’s the last thing I want to do. But you think I’m going to hide in the corner when somebody comes in my house? No, I will not do that, and as your mayor I will not do that.”
Though burglaries, thefts and auto thefts fell by a combined 2.8 percent from 2017 to 2018 in Houston, homicides jumped from 269 to 279 in those years, the Chronicle reported, citing statistics released last week by Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Buzbee sounded the alarm on Twitter Monday afternoon, despite recent reports from the Houston Police Department that violent crimes —rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults—have declined over the past five years.
“Last Friday we learned that Police Chief Art Acevedo’s wife’s car was burglarized, and this morning my own home was burglarized. Murders, robberies, burglaries, etc. continue to rise. Crime knows no boundaries or zip codes. We have to address this crime wave, NOW,” he wrote.
Buzbee is a formidable opponent for Turner, who is black, in November’s mayoral race. He’s won multimillion dollar settlements for clients who sued BP for chemical plant pollution and over its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
He also helped successfully defend Rick Perry after a Travis County grand jury charged Perry, then Texas governor, with two felonies in 2014.
Buzbee has tried to paint Turner, also an attorney who graduated from Harvard, as corrupt and out-of-touch with Houston residents.
“We are at a crossroads here in Houston. We could become a Detroit or we could become the city that we should be,” Buzbee said in a December interview with Fox News, citing the pension problems that bankrupted Detroit in 2013.
“We have a great city,” Buzbee continued. “We have a great diverse population. We have great entrepreneurs. We are the energy capital of the country. Why aren’t we considered in the conversation of the great cities of the United States? I’ll tell you why, because our leadership is below average and we can do better.”
Buzbee told Fox News the Houston City Council and Mayor Turner had recently approved a $35 million contract, $6.7 million of which went to Turner’s former law partner.
The Monday morning robbery at Buzbee’s home reminded Houstonians of a December 2017 episode involving Buzbee’s art collection and police.
Houston police arrested Lindy Lou Layman, on Dec. 23, 2017 at Buzbee’s home. A highly intoxicated Layman threw a fit when Buzbee called an Uber driver to come get her following their first date that night, prosecutors said shortly after the incident.
Layman tore three paintings off the wall and poured liquid on them, causing more than $300,000 damages to the artwork, according to her arrest report.
Charged with felony criminal mischief, Layman, 30, struck a pretrial intervention deal with Harris County prosecutors in October 2018.
The deal restricts Layman’s travel and calls for her to do 120 hours of community service, pay $65 a month in fees and take monthly drug-and-alcohol tests until October 2020, court records show.