LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Authorities used DNA evidence collected at the scene to track down a Lufkin High school football star that allegedly used threw an oil filter can through the drive-through window at a restaurant located at 1501 S. First Street and stole a jar containing $15 to $20.
Angelina County Sheriff's deputies arrested Mandela Ray Roberts, 26, of Lufkin, on a state-jail burglary of a habitation charge on Tuesday. Roberts is still being held in the Angelina County, and no bail has been set at this time.
Roberts graduated from Lufkin High School in 2006, where he played linebacker and was named to the all-state second team his senior year. He then played college ball at the University of Indiana in the Big 10 Conference for at least two years.
According to the arrest affidavit, Lufkin Police officers were dispatched out to Donut Palace at approximately 12:46 a.m. on July 26, 2012 in reference to a burglary in progress. The 911 caller said that he or she saw a black male throw something at the drive-through window and break it.
The LPD officers arrived on the scene a short time after the call came in and began searching the area. When they made contact with the owner of Donut Palace, they asked if he noticed anything missing. The owner told the officers that a change jar contain $15 to $20 was missing.
The Lufkin Police officers were unable to locate the suspect, but they discovered that a black oil filter can was used to break the drive-through window. In addition, the LPD officers noticed blood on the broken glass and the building's wall.
Because the officers believed the blood came from the suspect, they took swabs and submitted them as evidence. After the blood sample was submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory for analysis, and the sample was matched to a previous sample taken from Roberts that was already in the system.
Results in hand, a Lufkin Police Department investigator obtained a search warrant to take swabs from Roberts. Once those results came back a match, the investigator obtained an arrest warrant for Roberts on March 10.
Back in April 2013, Roberts was arrested on another burglary charge after he broke into a store and stole an adult magazine. According to the police report, a witness reported to police that a man was burglarizing Video Latina, located at 430 Atkinson Drive, at 1:50 a.m.
The witness described the suspect as a black male wearing a black shirt and a ski mask. The witness said the suspect ran from the building, running towards Dixon Furniture on Atkinson Drive, and that the suspect was carrying an unidentified item.
Lufkin PD officers arrived in the area and began searching for the suspect. An officer responded to Video Latina and determined that a burglary had occurred, noting that the suspect broke into the building by damaging a glass pane at the front of the building.
An officer located Roberts running along the roadway in the 200 block of North Second Street, according to the report. He was wearing a long black shirt, black pants, and white shoes. Roberts stopped running and spoke with the officer, and the officer found a plastic-wrapped adult magazine on the ground near Roberts and a black ski mask tucked into the waistband of Robert's pants, according to the report.
Officers reviewed video captured by cameras at Video Latina and reported seeing Roberts use a brick to break the glass at the front of the building, reaching into the business, and stealing a magazine then running northwesterly along Atkinson Drive, removing the ski mask from his face as he went.
Roberts, who was on probation for two felonies he committed in 2012 when he was arrested, refused a plea deal for the Video Latina burglary in April 2013. As a result, he was sentenced to 13 years in a state-jail prison.
The arrest is Roberts' 11th since 2007, according to Angelina County Jail records.