Pair face robbery charges in attack on Fort Worth restaurant owner

05/16/2014 10:20 AM

05/16/2014 10:21 AM

A Fort Worth man and woman with long criminal histories have been arrested in the robbery of an Asian restaurant owner who was beaten repeatedly on the head with a plastic drink crate.

Latonya Shawon Walker, 39, and Michael Dean Thomas, 49, were arrested on robbery warrants, according to a police report.

They remained in the Mansfield jail Friday, each facing two counts of robbery and being held in lieu of $9,000 bail.

The attack happened shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday at Le’s Wok Restaurant, 812 W. Rosedale Street.

According to a police report, a man first entered the adjoining convenience store, 7 AM Market, asking to exchange coins for dollar bills. He left but later returned with a woman and entered the restaurant side of the business.

The couple tried to steal money, first from a tip jar and then the register, and were told to leave by the owner, 42-year-old Le Trong Nguyen, the police report states. When they grabbed the tip jar again, a struggle ensued between the suspects, Nguyen and Nguyen’s wife, the report states.

The man grabbed a hard plastic crate and hit Nguyen about 30 times in the head and face, police said. The pair fled with $20 to $30 from the tip jar, the report states.

Nguyen was hospitalized afterward.

Sgt. Raymond Bush, a police spokesman, said the victim’s wife and a customer provided the license plate number of the car that the two fled in.

Tarrant County court records show Thomas has criminal convictions dating to 1993 for offenses including burglary, terroristic threat and aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Walker, records show, has more than three dozen convictions in Tarrant County for offenses including attempted escape, criminal trespassing, unlawfully carrying a weapon, prostitution and possession of a controlled substance.

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