Texas judge lectures ‘influencer’ arrested for ‘stealing’ honey buns

Thief wanted in connection with separate robbery at Family Dollar in city centre

  • Man arrested for ‘robbery’ of Dollar General in Northeast El Paso

An El Paso district court judge recently gave a lesson in Texas law to a social media “influencer” arrested in connection with a dispute over a Monster Energy drink and a honey bun at a Dollar General store.

District Court Judge Antonio Aun commented that Donte Manning-Lesueur, 25, whose eyes were wide, seemed “shocked” when he was told he faces a robbery charge during a June 30 bond conference call from jail. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

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Under Texas law, robbery is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Manning-Lesueur, of Northeast El Paso, formerly served in the U.S. Army and has worked as a social media “influencer” for the past five years, the public defender said. His work as an influencer was not described further. El Paso County Jail records show no prior arrests.

Court documents do not list a specific public defender representing Manning-Lesueur.

Energy Drink, Honey Buns and Alleged Punch

The criminal charges stem from a dispute that occurred June 28 at the Dollar General store in the Sunrise Village shopping center at 8500 Dyer St. in northeast El Paso, Assistant District Attorney Raoaa King said at the hearing.

In summing up the case, King described the store’s policy as requiring customers to leave backpacks at the door. Other stores have similar backpack policies to discourage shoplifting.

Manning-Lesueur had a backpack, ignored the clerk and continued into the store, where he got an energy drink. The clerk told Manning-Lesueur to leave and that the clerk had the right to refuse service, King said.

“However, the defendant (Manning-Lesueur) then told the clerk, ‘If you’re not going to charge me, I’ll take this,’” King said. “While he was holding the Monster drink, he grabbed a honey bun from the front of the register and attempted to leave the store without paying for it.”

The clerk then stood in front of Manning-Lesueur to prevent him from leaving without paying for the items when Manning-Lesueur allegedly punched him in the left arm, causing him pain, King said. Manning-Lesueur, who lives nearby, allegedly resisted arrest when he was soon detained by El Paso police.

“That’s the law of the state of Texas, my friend.”

Judge Aun explained to Manning-Lesueur that the confrontation described by the prosecution is considered a robbery in Texas.

“If you’re in the process of committing a robbery and you assault someone — even if it’s a minor robbery — that’s robbery, a second-degree felony. That’s Texas law for you, my friend, that’s how it is,” Aun said.

During the hearing, Manning-Lesueur raised his hand to speak and tried to explain the matter but could only say, “I don’t…” before the judge interrupted him, reminding him of his right to remain silent and not say anything that might incriminate him.

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Manning-Lesueur was jailed on $20,000 bail for the assault charge and $500 for resisting arrest. Aun ordered him released on a personal recognizance bond, requiring only his signature and a promise to appear in court. The judge also set bail conditions, banning him from all Dollar General stores in El Paso County. The case is pending in court.

Man uses knife during Family Dollar robbery in downtown El Paso

In a separate case, El Paso police detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who threatened a store employee with a knife during a theft-turned-armed robbery at a Family Dollar store downtown.

The man was accosted by an employee after he put items in a backpack about 6:30 p.m. May 21 at the Family Dollar, 406 S. Stanton St., just south of East Paisano Drive, El Paso Crime Stoppers said.

Police said after the confrontation, the shoplifter threatened the clerk with a knife, took more items and left. He was last seen heading south on Stanton Street.

The man appeared to be in his early twenties, with a beard on his jawline and tattoos on his arms, neck and chest. He was wearing an earring, sunglasses, a baseball cap, a white T-shirt, brown pants, dark shoes and a white shirt tied around his waist.

Anyone with information about the identity of the Family Dollar thief can anonymously call Crime Stoppers of El Paso at 915-566-8477 (TIPS) or leave a tip online at Tipsters may receive a cash reward if information leads to an arrest.