INDICTMENT: Ex-store employee robs Port Arthur Mini Mart at gunpoint

Published 12:18 am Friday, September 25, 2020

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A Port Arthur woman that police believe robbed a convenience store while wearing a medical mask and latex gloves has been indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury.

Diedre Harkless, 50, an ex-employee at Mini Mart, 3453 25th St., reportedly entered the store on May 25 with the medical mask on and displaying a handgun.

According to the probable cause affidavit for her arrest, Harkless forced the clerk to the ground and took the bank deposit bag containing approximately $8,000 and the clerk’s cell phone. She then is alleged to have taken the store keys and left, locking the door behind her.

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The store’s surveillance cameras caught the robbery.

It was noted the suspect, who was recently fired, arrived at the store an hour earlier and stood outside while using a cell phone. It was also noted the suspect has a distinctive limp.

A follow-up at Harkless’ residence reportedly led to the discovery of the same tennis shoes, blue medical mask and blue latex gloves as seen on the camera footage, as well as three airsoft guns that look similar to handguns.

Other surveillance cameras showed the woman walking toward the store prior to the robbery and back following the robbery.

In addition, a search warrant for the woman’s cell phone records show the phone was within 100 meters of the store, coinciding with the time she was seen outside the store that morning.

Harkless was arrested for aggravated robbery and bond set at $75,000. She bonded out on Sept. 23, according to information from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

An indictment is not a final conviction of guilt; it is only a ruling by the grand jury that allows the district attorney’s office to proceed with a criminal case.