TEXARKANA, Texas –A 17-year-old accused of pointing a gun at a convenience store clerk in February pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated robbery.
Malaki Scott Beckham appeared for arraignment Monday before 5th District Judge Bill Miller at the Bi-State Justice Building in downtown Texarkana. Beckham entered pleas of not guilty to aggravated robbery and debit/credit card abuse.
Beckham allegedly carried a pink backpack while wearing a black hoodie, a face mask, jeans and blue tennis shoes when he stepped into the Paradise Quick Stop at 904 McCoy Blvd. at around 11:30 p.m. the night of Feb. 3, according to a probable cause affidavit. The store is across Interstate 30 from the Bowie County Courthouse in New Boston.
After roaming the aisles for a few minutes, Beckham allegedly approached the counter where a male clerk was working and pulled out a black handgun. Beckham allegedly pointed the weapon at the clerk and told him to “give it up.” The clerk complied by opening the register and handing the cash drawer to Beckham, who allegedly removed $80 in cash.
“A customer then enters the store and the subject pointed the gun at her and told her to back up and she complied,” the affidavit states.
After pointing the gun at both the clerk and the customer, the robber headed to a “back wall” and took 53 vape cartridges. The cartridges typically contain a flavored liquid and nicotine for use in vaporizers, a popular alternative to cigarette smoking.
Investigators quickly identified Beckham as a possible suspect and interviewed two men familiar with his activities. One of the individuals interviewed allegedly told investigators that Beckham attempted to sell him some of the vape cartridges via Facebook Messenger. A photo sent with the message allegedly included vape cartridges like those taken in the Paradise robbery.
The first individual interviewed allegedly said he received a Snap Chat message from a second individual with a photo of a black gun, $80 cash and vape cartridges with the caption, “Malaki hit a lick” on the night of the robbery. The message could not be retrieved and preserved as evidence as it was automatically deleted by the application.
The second individual allegedly told investigators that Beckham came to his home the night of the robbery with the pink backpack, gun, money and boxes of vape cartridges. The second man allegedly showed investigators a black BB gun pistol which may have been used by Beckham in the robbery. Many BB pistols look like real firearms.
“(The second individual) also confirmed a jail recording where he was contacted by Beckham and told to get rid of the backpack,” the affidavit states.
Beckham was arrested the day after the robbery on an unrelated charge of debit card abuse involving his grandmother, court records show. Beckham was released on that charge Feb. 7 on a personal recognizance bond but was taken back into custody the following day on a charge of aggravated robbery in the Paradise stickup.
Beckham allegedly pocketed his grandmother’s debit card sometime in December during a visit to her home and then used it to buy items for a dog pen Dec. 6 at Tractor Supply, which totaled $526.13, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Beckham’s bail on the aggravated robbery charge is set at $75,000. In Texas, individuals are handled in the adult criminal justice system once they reach age 17.
If found guilty of robbing the New Boston convenience store, Beckham faces five to 99 years or life in prison. If convicted of debit card abuse, he faces six months to two years in a Texas state jail.
Print Headline: Teen accused of gunpoint convenience store holdup pleads not guilty