HOUSTON – Two teens accused of stealing a cashbox from a group of Girl Scouts outside of a Fort Bend County Walmart have been arrested and charged with aggravated robbery, investigators announced Friday.
The suspects, 18-year-old Justin Rogers-Zenon and a 16-year-old accomplice, were both arrested Thursday evening.
Investigators said the 16-year-old was taken into custody at his home in the Lakemont subdivision around 6 p.m.
Rogers-Zenon, who also lives in the Lakemont subdivision, was brought to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office by a relative around 9:15 p.m.
The theft, which garnered national attention, occurred around 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, outside the Walmart at State 99 and Bellaire Blvd.
Investigators said Rogers-Zenon approached the Girl Scout stand and acted as if he was going to buy some cookies.
"A guy came up and was asking, ‘How much are your cookies?’ And so we were telling him and there was a guy in the car who was like, ‘Hey, hurry up,’" Rachel Johnson, one of the Girl Scouts, recalled.
But instead of making a purchase, investigators said Rogers-Zenon grabbed the girls’ cashbox and jumped into a small car that had pulled up in front of the stand.
Meanwhile, Johnson and another Girl Scout gave chase, and Johnson was knocked to the ground.
She suffered some bruises and scrapes and was treated at the scene by paramedics.
"Me and my friend, Rachel, went after the money and then they tried to hit me with the car. I started hitting the boy that was in the passenger seat, so I think he learned his lesson a little bit," Girl Scout Iravia Cotton said. "And then they dragged my friend Rachel across the street driving off real fast."
The suspects got away with between $50 and $100, deputies said.
"Who steals from a Girl Scout? I mean, seriously, it’s like the worst thing ever," Johnson said.
Apparently, the community agreed with her.
The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council said donations poured in from all over the country to help the girls recover their money.
And while supporters were stepping up to help, investigators were busy looking for the suspects.
Around 5:25 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, a Fort Bend County deputy spotted a car matching the description of the one involved in the cashbox theft at a Chevron station on FM 1093.
Four people were in the car, and the deputy detained them until detectives arrived at the scene.
Detectives, who had seen photos of the cashbox thieves from the scene, questioned one of the occupants of the car. That turned out to be the 16-year-old suspect.
Investigators said the three other occupants of the car were not involved.
Further investigation led them to Rogers-Zenon.
Investigators said the 16-year-old was being held in the Fort Bend County Juvenile Detention Center Friday.
Rogers-Zenon was out on $10,000 bond.
The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council released a statement Friday afternoon, thanking law enforcement for quickly catching the suspects, and the community for all the support.
"We are both thankful and relieved to learn the two cookie theft suspects have been arrested. Our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of the girls and this news is helpful as they try to put the incident behind them.
The troop has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community and the girls are looking forward to attending Girl Scout summer camp in a few months thanks to donations they have received from across our community," the statement read.