AUSTIN (KXAN) — Stopping to buy something at a popular Bastrop rest stop ultimately helped police track down a woman and her daughter wanted for a series of Austin robberies, according to newly-obtained court records.
Arrest warrant affidavits filed in September detailed the lengthy investigations into why Sharon Jacobs and her daughter Tamiya Jacobs are each facing charges in Austin of robbery and credit card or debit card abuse. The two are currently in custody out of state, though: Sharon in Bay County, Florida; Tamiya in Fulton County, Georgia.
Police suspect the two women flew to Houston from Atlanta earlier this year, drove a rental car to Austin, robbed four victims and allegedly drugged them with an over-the-counter sleep aid. These incidents all happened downtown between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13, according to the affidavits.
Police said the first two victims came forward on Feb. 12 when they reported someone stole their cell phones and bank cards and went on spending sprees in Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. The affidavits also detailed how both victims “believed they had been drugged, as they had no memory of a significant portion of the night of the incident.” Testing later revealed they had doxylamine in their systems, which police said is “an anti-histamine known to cause drowsiness.”
Two more people came forward with similar stories, police said, after they apparently saw a post on the social media site Reddit written by one of the initial victims.
“Each victim stated they remembered being in downtown Austin at different establishments, and then remembered nothing until waking up the following day,” an officer wrote in the affidavit. “Each victim stated they woke up in their own residence in a groggy state, unsure of what took place the night prior. Each victim stated that they recalled the events that occurred early in the evening, but have no recollection of the events that transpired later in the night.”
Identifying the suspects
According to the arrest warrant affidavits, police said they picked up their first thread of who the suspects might be when a victim’s credit card was used for a purchase at the Buc-ee’s travel stop in Bastrop. Officers said they obtained surveillance footage from the morning of Feb. 12 showing a red Toyota Camry at a gas pump. Police said they ran the license plate, and it came back registered to a rental car. A subpoena for the rental car company’s records revealed Tamiya Jacobs had picked up the sedan at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport on Feb. 11 and returned it on Feb. 15.
Police said they eventually identified Tamiya after they reviewed security cameras where other fraudulent transactions and purchases happened at a north Austin Chase Bank location as well as Walmart and Target stores in south Austin. A detective also reached the Atlanta Police Department to ask about Tamiya and the “fraudulent credit card activity stretching from Austin, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia,” the affidavits detailed. Police said an Atlanta investigator was “familiar” with her and “immediately recognized” her from surveillance captured at the Bastrop Buc-ee’s store.
The affidavits explained that police named Sharon Jacobs as a suspect after they looked at surveillance from a Bank of America in north Austin and a Kroger grocery store in Cypress, Texas.
Police said they also got cell phone data records from both women. An affidavit explained that data showed the suspects traveling together in downtown Austin where two of the victims last were, near one of the victim’s homes and then at places where the victims’ bank cards were used.
Police said they accessed Tamiya’s Google search history, too, stretching from December 2021 to March 2022. During that time, the affidavit stated she looked up flights to Houston, a bank in Austin and three different drugs that cause drowsiness — gabapentin, hyoscyamine and ondansetron.
It’s unclear if either Tamiya or Sharon Jacobs has a lawyer based here in Austin yet, so there’s no one right now for KXAN to contact for comment. However, police said both women are facing extradition to Texas.
Florida court records show Sharon had a waiver of extradition to Texas filed against her Wednesday. She’s also facing fraud charges in Bay County, Florida and officially had a defense attorney assigned to her case Wednesday. KXAN reached out Thursday afternoon for a comment on the allegations and the extradition request.
Austin police said Thursday both suspects were registered as drivers with at least one ride-share app. However, police said they were not logged in or active while in Austin when these alleged crimes happened.