LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A California man accepted a plea deal of 10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison for his part in an armed robbery that occurred at a Lufkin Dollar General store on Jan. 23, 2015.
Moses McCleland appeared in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Court for a plea hearing Wednesday morning. As part of the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to two felony charges - aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He agreed to 10 years for each charge, and he will serve the prison sentences concurrently, or at the same time.
McCleland will also be serving the two 10-year prison terms at the same time he is serving a 20-year sentence for the robbery of a Family Dollar Store in Corrigan that occurred on April 27, 2015. McCleland agreed to a plea bargain deal for that robbery back in January.
According to the arrest affidavit, Lufkin Police officers responded to the Dollar General store on Southwood Drive on Jan. 23, 2015 in reference to an armed robbery that had just occurred. While the officers were on their way to the scene, they were told that the suspect had fled the scene.
When the LPD officers arrived on the scene, they talked to two witnesses that had been standing outside the store. Both men said they saw black man exit the store with a silver pistol in his hand and described him as wearing a black hoodie and white gloves.
The witnesses said the suspect walked around the northeast corner of the building. A short time later, a silver or gray "Honda Civic-type" car sped north on Southwood Drive, the affidavit stated.
Inside, the officers talked to a Dollar General employee. The woman had blood on her left and wrist along with an injury to the back of her head.
According to the affidavit, the woman told the officers that the suspect approached her with a silver pistol and demanded the money from the cash registers. As she was collecting the money, the suspect struck her in the head with the gun. Her description of the suspect matched the one given by the other two witnesses. During later interviews, the employee also described the man's facial tattoos.
Later, the officers talked to another store employee, who told them that he had been walking the store when he heard a commotion toward the front of the store. He told the officers that he first thought his co-worker was playing a trick on him, but he quickly realized that the store was being robbed.
The male store employee told the police that he called 911 and then loudly said he had called the police, the affidavit stated.
A review of the surveillance video from the store revealed that the suspect calmly walked around the cash register area and hid in the office area until all the other customers had left the store. According to the affidavit, the store manager told police that in addition to $200 from the cash registers and the employee's iPhone 5S, the suspect also took $2,000 to $2,500 from the store's safe.
An effort to "ping" the stolen iPhone was unsuccessful.
The LPD detective who took over the case acted on a Crime Stoppers tip about the suspect in several Lufkin robberies being a man known as "Moses," who lived on East Menefee Street. A computer search turned up a match; McCleland lived on Menefee Street and had recently been released from prison, where he had served a four-year sentence for burglaries, the affidavit stated.
During the investigation, the detectives also learned that McCleland is originally from Compton, California, where he had numerous juvenile arrests.
When the detectives finally tracked McCleland down, he denied being involved in the robberies and said he spends most of his time in Houston with his girlfriend, Tamiesha Wolfe. According to the affidavit, he said he only came back to Lufkin to visit his children.
Further investigation revealed that the male Dollar General employee helped McCleland set up the robbery and had communicated with him by phone on several occasions before the robbery occurred, the affidavit stated.
McCleland was arrested on a traffic charge on Feb. 12. The LPD detectives requested and obtained arrest warrants on McCleland and the male employee on March 23.
Wolfe is the other suspect in the armed robbery that occurred at the Family Dollar store in Corrigan on April 27, 2015. US marshals picked her up in Houston in back in early May of 2015. However, Tommy Coleman, a prosecutor with the Polk County District Attorney's Office, said a grand jury chose not to indict Wolfe, and the charges were dropped.