LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Police officers arrested two men on robbery and theft charges after they allegedly stole packages of steaks from the Brookshire Brothers grocery store on West Frank Ave. Wednesday.
One man fled the scene, and the other man got into a scuffle with store employees.
John Dexter House, 42, and Emmitt Ted Burney, 45, both of Lufkin, are still being held in the Angelina County Jail. House was charged with second-degree felony robbery, and Burney was charged with theft less than $1,500, but the charge was upgraded to a state-jail felony because of prior convictions. Burney was also charged with Class B misdemeanor criminal trespass.
No bail amount was available for House. Collectively, Burney's bail was set at $5,000.
According to Lt. J.B. Smith, a spokesman for the Lufkin Police Department, an LPD officer was on patrol near the Brookshire Brothers store on West Frank Avenue when he spotted what he thought was a fight in progress in the store's parking lot.
Further investigation revealed that the "fight" amounted to store employees trying to take custody of an alleged shoplifter. When he arrived on the scene, the employees were walking the suspect, who was later identified as House, into the store.
The Brookshire Brothers store manager told the LPD officer that he confronted House in the parking lot after the manager witnessed the man attempt to leave the store with packages of steak concealed in his pants. When the store manager asked House to return the meat, the man allegedly shoved the meat at another employee and tried to push the manager out of the way in an attempt to flee.
After the employees escorted House back into the store, he allegedly told the manager, "I'm gonna [expletive] slap your [expletive]" and slapped him. House advanced on the manager, but was stopped when the manager punched him in the chest, Smith said.
Smith said a second suspect fled from the Brookshire Brothers employees while they were dealing with House.
Another Lufkin Police officer responded to the area in search of the second man, who was described as wearing an orange shirt and shorts. A short time later, the officer located a man matching that physical description running east along West Frank Ave. Smith said the LPD officer recognized the man as Burney because of his previous run-ins with law enforcement.
Burney admitted to the officer that he was at the Brookshire Brothers with his friend, who was stealing. Smith said a witness stopped and said he had followed Burney from the store. Because Burney was issued a criminal trespass warning for all of the Brookshire Brothers stores in Lufkin on April 19, the LPD officer arrested him for criminal trespass.
The LPD officer located two packages of steaks in Burney's shorts, Smith said. The charge was upgraded to a state-jail felony because Burney had two prior convictions for theft.
Both men have lengthy arrest records according to the Angelina County Jail Website.
House's arrests date back to May 2002, and the charges include assault, disorderly conduct, burglary of a vehicle, assaulting a public servant, theft, evading arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, criminal trespass, manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, and robbery. Burney's arrests date back to October 2000, and his past charges include criminal trespass, theft of service, possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest, and assault causing bodily injury.