By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
Even the Lone Star Saloon Is Not Safe
Crime of the Century so far unsolved
Here at Hair Balls and the Houston Press, we really love the Lone Star Saloon. Really. That's why we hope that police take swift action and find the dirty, dirty bastard that stole 21 bottles of liquor from Lone Star recently.
"I hope they catch the SOB," Joe Lee Thomas, the Lone Star's owner, tells Hair Balls. "They took the most expensive liquor."
He lost about $800 to $1,000 in booze.
The crime is a bit of a mystery, because the thief didn't break into Lone Star, and the front door was found unlocked the next morning, Thomas says. He has a couple theories.
First, the thief could have hidden in the restroom at closing, waited until everyone was gone, then come out and nabbed the liquor. (A laundry bag — used to carry the bottles — and $6 from the cash register were also stolen.)
But Lone Star has a policy for the bartenders to check the restrooms for people before locking up, and it's a good policy because we've found people asleep in the stall. If the bartender forgot to check, this theory could work. Especially since the thief could have unlocked the front door to let himself out, because a set of keys hang on a hook in the bar's office, which is left unlocked.
The keys, however, were still in the office, and that doesn't make sense to Thomas. Why would a thief with a laundry bag full of expensive liquor take the time to replace the keys?
"They would have wanted to get the hell out of there," Thomas says.
The second theory is that the bartender simply forgot to lock the front door, allowing anyone looking for an early-morning drink to stroll in and take the alcohol. Some of the stolen bottles were unopened, Thomas says, and others were taken from behind the bar.
"The bartender [that was working the night of the theft] is coming in tonight. I haven't talked to her because she doesn't have a telephone," Thomas says. "But she's been with me for over a year and I haven't had any problems, as far as theft."
About five months ago, someone broke into Lone Star through the side of the building. That thief — or those thieves — didn't steal any liquor, but busted open vending machines for the cash and change inside, according to Thomas. That was the first break-in at the Lone Star in about five years.
Thomas also told us that an investigator with the Houston Police Department told him that three other bars have been broken into in the last month, and the thieves have taken liquor each time.
R.I.P. Marvin's Angels
Last vestige of Houston icon gone
It's been a little over two years since Houston legend Marvin Zindler took his shock wig, blue-tinted eyeglasses and excessively nipped-and-tucked face to that great Ice Machine in the Sky.
For a while after his demise, KTRK kept alive his Angels in Action program, where doctors and other professionals would volunteer services to help down-on-their-luck kids or adults who needed eye surgery, wheelchairs, clothes, etc.
Now it's gone. Lori Reingold, the longtime assistant who helped him run the program, no longer works at the station.
"Why they didn't carry on the tradition, I don't know," Dr. Irving Wishnow, an eye doctor and close Zindler friend, tells Hair Balls. "His angels, all the people he recruited, still wanted to help out any way they could."
It would seem a no-brainer: The program was voluntary, so it didn't cost the station much; it would be a way of keeping the Zindler name alive; and what TV news show doesn't love feel-good stories of helpless kids made happy?
There are rumors that some KTRK brass had grown tired of Zindler's ego, though, so maybe that's why the plug was pulled.
Station spokesman Tom Ash tells us it was simpler than that. "Well, he died," Ash said. "That was the main reason we stopped. There was a lot of stuff Marvin was doing that went with him."
Halloween CountdownHow best to tap into '90s nostalgia.