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Robbers in clown masks had machetes, so grandma beat them with a scooter, Texas cops say

Jose Lugo, left, and Luis Jimenez are charged with aggravated robbery in Texas City after police say they showed up to a couple’s home in clown masks with a machete.
Jose Lugo, left, and Luis Jimenez are charged with aggravated robbery in Texas City after police say they showed up to a couple’s home in clown masks with a machete.

The robbers in clown masks had the element of surprise, but the Texas couple they threatened fought back, police say.

Two men wearing clown masks and wielding machetes pulled up alongside a couple sitting in their truck in their driveway in Texas City just before 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 1, according to a police report obtained by KPRC.

Texas City is a town of nearly 50,000 residents that sits along Galveston Bay near the Gulf Coast.

One of them, wearing a white mask, orange hair and a big red nose, went to the truck’s driver side, placed his machete on the neck of the man sitting at the wheel and said, “You’re gonna give it up, or I’m gonna cut you,” according to the report.

The man in the driver’s seat, Joseph Nelson, told KTRK he “couldn’t believe what was happening.”

“He reached his hand through the window, put it on my throat like this and I’m like ‘Dude, you serious, you trying to rob me with a machete?’”

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KRIV Video screengrab

Thomas told his wife, Aretha Cardinal, who was sitting in the passenger seat, to get out and find a weapon, as he began to struggle with his attacker, according to KRIV. So she grabbed her granddaughter’s scooter from the front yard and started swinging, the station reported.

Cardinal started hitting both of the machete-wielding clown robbers with the child’s two-wheel scooter, the Galveston County Daily News reported, and Thomas eventually took his attacker’s machete away.

“It was really scary, but it was like, it was either us or them, you know, and not us. You not gonna steal no money. We ain’t got no money,” Cardinal told KRIV. “Me and my husband held them down, you know, commence to beating them until the laws came.”

She also used the scooter to bust out one of the windows of the suspects’ car as they ran back to the car and fled, the Daily News reported.

Texas City police arrested the alleged clown-masked assailants just a few minutes later, according to jail records. Jose Noel Lugo, 35, of Texas City and Luis Jiminez, 32, of nearby La Marque remained in Galveston County Jail Thursday, facing aggravated robbery charges.

Their bond is set at $100,000 apiece as they await trial.

The Holly Hill Police Department in Florida released surveillance video from an incident at a Little Caesar's pizza shop where a man wearing a "clown mask" attacked an employee with a wooden board and a pair of scissors as he was leaving work.

Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.
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