El Paso judge schools 'influencer' accused of energy drink, honey bun 'robbery'


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

Magistrate Judge Antonio Aun commented that Donte Manning-Lesueur, 25, whose eyes were opened big and wide, appeared “shocked” when told he was facing a felony robbery charge during a June 30 teleconference bond hearing from jail. He also faces a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge.

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

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

Court records do not list a specific public defense attorney for Manning-Lesueur.

An energy drink, honey buns and an alleged punch

The criminal charges stem from a dispute on 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 summarizing the case, King described how it is store policy for 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 to walk into the store and grabbed an energy drink. The clerk told Manning-Lesueur to leave and that the clerk had the right to refuse service, King said.

An El Paso police patrol car at a crime scene in El Paso, Texas. File art.

An El Paso police patrol car at a crime scene in El Paso, Texas. File art.

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

The clerk then proceeded to stand in front of Manning-Lesueur, so he couldn’t leave without paying for the items when Manning-Lesueur allegedly swung a punch, hitting the clerk in the left arm and causing pain, King said. Manning-Lesueur, who resides nearby, allegedly resisted arrested when he was soon taken into custody by El Paso police.

‘That’s Texas law for you, my friend’

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

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

During the hearing, Manning-Lesueur raised his hand to speak and attempted to explain but only managed to say, “I didn’t …” before the judge cut him off, reminding him of his right to remain silent and not to say anything that might incriminate himself.

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

Man wields knife in Family Dollar robbery in Downtown El Paso

In a separate case, El Paso police detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify a man who threatened a store worker with a knife during a theft-turned-aggravated robbery at a Family Dollar store in Downtown.

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

After being confronted, the shoplifter used a knife to threaten the store clerk, grabbed more items and walked out, last seen heading south on Stanton, police said.

A security camera image shows an unidentified man, who was armed with a knife, suspected of stealing items during a robbery of the Family Dollar store, 406 S. Stanton St. in Downtown El Paso, on May 21, 2024.

A security camera image shows an unidentified man, who was armed with a knife, suspected of stealing items during a robbery of the Family Dollar store, 406 S. Stanton St. in Downtown El Paso, on May 21, 2024.

The man appeared to be in his 20s and had a jawline beard and tattoos on his arms, neck and chest. He wore an earring, sunglasses, a baseball cap, a white tank top, brown pants, dark shoes and had a white shirt tied around his waist.

A security camera image shows an unidentified man, who was armed with a knife, suspected of stealing items during a robbery of the Family Dollar store, 406 S. Stanton St. in Downtown El Paso, on May 21, 2024

A security camera image shows an unidentified man, who was armed with a knife, suspected of stealing items during a robbery of the Family Dollar store, 406 S. Stanton St. in Downtown El Paso, on May 21, 2024

Anyone with information on the identity of the Family Dollar robber may anonymously call Crime Stoppers of El Paso at 915-566-8477 (TIPS) or leave a tip online at cselpaso.org. Tipsters could be eligible for a cash reward if information leads to an arrest.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Texas judge schools ‘influencer’ arrested in honey bun ‘robbery’



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