HOUSTON - A late-night order from Taco Bell turned into a nightmare for one 17-year-old boy in Houston.
Just after 1 a.m. last Thursday, Ring doorbell footage captures an Uber Eats driver dropping off food at the front doorstep of a Tanglewood-neighborhood home. The driver is seen documenting the delivery and then driving off.
The teen's dad, Dr. Ruchdi Barakats, says his son was careful and waited for the driver to leave before he opened the front door.
According to the surveillance timestamp, the teen waits nearly two minutes before picking up the food. But seconds after opening the door, two gunmen wearing hoodies, masks, and gloves shoved their way into the house.
"One of them hit him with the back of a gun, with the handle of a handgun, and subdued him to the ground," Barakats says. "They asked him if he's the only one at the house,"
Unfortunately, he was.
His dad, Dr. Barakats, was 10 minutes away at a friend's house, and the rest of his family was out of town.
The teen complied with the armed robbers' demands, and minutes later, the men are seen leaving the house with large bags of stolen valuables.
Dr. Barakats says they went through his master bedroom, his walk-in closet, and even took his wife's safe and some of her handbags.
And if that wasn’t enough, they took the homeowner's keys from the kitchen and used his truck as their getaway car.
"I remembered I have an AirTag on the fob key for the car," Dr. Barakats says.
Using the Apple AirTag, law enforcement was able to track down his truck near 288 and Almeda. They found it burned to a crisp.
The damage to the vehicle was $130,000, but thankfully, it was insured.
In total, Dr. Barakats estimates the thieves got away with more than $180,000 worth of belongings.
He’s now asking the public for help identifying the people responsible
"I’m pursuing this for – maybe for my own reasons – just for justice," he says.
As of right now, it’s unclear whether the delivery was involved or connected to the robbery at all.
A spokesperson with Uber says it does not appear connected and says its public safety team will be helping Houston police with their investigation.
Uber says all potential drivers are required to undergo the company's background check process, which screens for motor vehicle records and criminal offenses at the local, state, and federal levels. Uber says its drivers are re-screened every year and their process also monitors for new offenses.
So far, no suspects have been named.
Dr. Barakats is offering up to a $5,000 reward for any information that could lead to an arrest. He says anyone with information about the armed robbery should call 281-440-0800.