ABILENE, Texas -

Police have arrested four suspects – including the self-proclaimed leader of a street gang – in the investigation of two convenience store robberies that occurred Monday.

According to Abilene police, Kendrick Hodge, 18, was arrested along with three male juveniles, whose names weren’t released, for aggravated robbery and engaging in criminal activity.

According to police, the robberies occurred within about 30 minutes of each other early Monday morning. The first was in the 800 block of Grape Street and the second in the 1200 block of Grape Street. Suspects fled the scene before the police arrived.

Police say a break in the investigation came when the Youth and Criminal Investigation Divisions were asked to assist with the investigation the evening of July 9th. Hodge was located at a park in the 900 block of Forrest Avenue and taken into police custody for questioning.

According to authorities, the three juveniles believed to be involved in the incidents were located and taken in for questioning, which linked all three to involvement in the robberies.

According to Abilene police, the juveniles were placed in custody and taken to the Juvenile Detention Center where all three are facing 1st-degree felony charges for 2 counts of aggravated robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity. Additionally, one of the juveniles was charged with a 1st-degree felony of direct activities of a criminal street gang.

Police say Hodge was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery; engaging in organized criminal activity; retaliation; coercing, inducing or soliciting membership in a criminal street gang; and unlawful transfer of certain weapons - all felony charges. He was also arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

Hodge remains in the Taylor County Jail with bonds totaling $191,000.

According to police, since the case involved juveniles, and the possible threat of retaliation, they will not be releasing any further information. The investigation continues and will be forwarded to the District Attorney's office for their consideration of the charges.

Below is the press release in it's entirety.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JULY 10, 2014

ROBBERY INVESTIGATIONS YIELD FOUR SUSPECTS INVOLVED IN ORGANIZED CRIME

ABILENE, TX – On Monday, July 7, 2014, during the early morning hours, two convenience store robberies, involving armed suspects, occurred within about 30 minutes of each other; the first robbery occurred in the 800 block of Grape Street, the secondary one occurred in the 1200 block of Grape Street. Patrol Division officers responded to both of these incidents but the suspects fled the scene before police arrival. In the first robbery, the victim at the store reported a young male, possibly a teen, demanded money while holding his hand under his shirt, leaving the employee in fear for his life. There was no property taken in this first incident. In the second robbery, the victim reported that three young males entered the store with their faces covered and demanded money and merchandise while two of the suspects displayed and pointed firearms towards the victim. No one was injured during these robberies.

 A break in the investigation, led by Patrol Division officers, helped identify probable suspects involved in these robberies; an adult teenager and three juveniles—all males. Yesterday evening, July 9th, detectives with the Youth and Criminal Investigation Divisions were summoned to assist with the investigation. The adult suspect, identified as Kendrick N. Hodge (DOB: 11/06/95), was located at a park in the 900 block of Forrest Avenue and taken to the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) for questioning. Additionally, detectives made application for a search warrant for a residence in the 1700 block of N. 10th Street where Hodge lived. That warrant was authorized by a magistrate. The search warrant was executed and a firearm used in the commission of at least one of the robberies was discovered. The three juveniles believed to have been involved in these incidents were also located during the investigation and taken to the LEC for questioning. The investigation revealed various details that linked all three juveniles in their direct involvement in both of the aggravated robberies on Grape Street. Additionally, Hodge was identified as a self-proclaimed 18-year-old leader of a criminal street gang. The three juveniles were part of this criminal street gang. The investigation also revealed the following: Hodge organized the robberies as part of his gang enterprise. Evidence discovered during the investigation showed that Hodge was complicit in ordering the killing of one of the juvenile suspects via social media, fearing that the juvenile had spoken to police. That order was not carried out. The investigation also uncovered the location of one of the other firearms used in one of the robberies and it too was seized. Hodge received monetary proceeds from one of the robberies. Hodge also possessed a small quantity of marijuana. Hodge was also criminally responsible for the initiation of one of the juvenile’s into his gang, as well as responsible for providing firearms to these juveniles.

The juveniles were placed into custody and taken to the Juvenile Detention Center where all three are facing the following 1st-degree felony charges: Aggravated Robbery (2 counts) and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity. Additionally, one of the juveniles was placed in custody for the additional offense of Direct Activities of a Criminal Street Gang; also a 1st-degree felony. Hodge was arrested and booked at the Taylor County jail for the following felony offenses: Aggravated Robbery; Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity; Retaliation; Coercing, Inducing or Soliciting Membership in a Criminal Street Gang; and Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons. Hodge was also arrested for misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana and remains incarcerated with bonds totaling $191,000.

This investigation lasted throughout the night of July 9th, and into the early morning hours of the following day—a collaborative effort involving various police divisions whose involvement was critical to the speedy identification and arrest of this criminal element. Because this case involves juveniles and the purported threat of retaliation, we will not be releasing any further information. The investigation continues and it will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for their consideration of charges.