YOU PROBABLY KNOW that Houston is the world's biggest hub for the energy industry and home to the largest medical center on earth. But did you know we're the — wait for it — the armored truck robbery capital of the United States?
This is how Jake Brennan, host of the hot Disgraceland podcast, describes H-Town in the new podcast Armored. Currently one of the top 10 podcasts in the nation, the show explores the high-stakes robberies of armed trucks — an alarming amount which happen in Houston. "According to the FBI's crime data from 2018," explains Brennan in the shows debut episode, "roughly half of all armored vehicle robberies in the entire nation took place in the Houston region."
Former FBI Director James Comey is quoted in the show explaining that the phenomenon is due to "an expansive network of freeways which provide a sprawling labyrinth of escape routes, allowing thieves to be miles away from a crime scene within minutes." (Anyone who has driven on Houston's freeways might question that thesis.)
The first episode in the 10-part series focuses on Redrick "Red" Batiste who presented himself as an ambitious clean-cut house flipper but ran a shadowy and violent network of criminals who were active from 2015-2016. The group was infamous for turning rental cars into mobile sniper platforms, similar to what the D.C. snipers used in 2002, and ambushing armored vehicles. The case unfolds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller — with wiretapping, codenames, burner phones, car kill-switches and elaborate surveillance schemes — all which play out on the streets of Houston. Armored goes inside the FBI strategy to bring down a ruthless crime ring.