Convicted felon’s armed purse theft at mall costs him more than 8 years in jail

Published 4:51 pm Monday, June 14, 2021

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BEAUMONT — A Beaumont man has been sentenced to federal prison for a firearms violation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.

Derionte Chrishaun Thomas, aka, Shug, 25, pleaded guilty Feb. 24 to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced Monday to 100 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Michael J. Truncale.

“Felons who possess firearms, and certainly those who possess firearms in connection with other felony offenses, will receive swift justice …,” Ganjei said. “This violent felon is now off the streets of Beaumont for a considerable time thanks to the hard work of the Beaumont Police Department and the ATF.”

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According to information presented in court, on Sep. 24, Beaumont police officers responded to a call regarding a theft and aggravated assault at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont.

Upon arrival, officers spoke to the victim, who told officers that men in a black SUV stole her purse in the parking lot, and that the driver pointed a handgun at her face.

A short time later, officers located the black SUV parked at Smoke Deez Smoke Shop in Beaumont and observed three males, including Thomas, exiting the smoke shop and walk towards the SUV.

Officers engaged the suspects, who fled on foot. During this pursuit, officers saw Thomas discard a handgun. All three individuals were eventually caught and placed in custody, and the victim’s purse was found inside the black SUV.

The handgun that Thomas tossed was also recovered.

Further investigation revealed Thomas was a convicted felon, having previously been found guilty of unauthorized use of a vehicle in 2016 in Harris County; unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon in 2017 in Jefferson County; and continuous family assault in 2017 in Jefferson County.

As a convicted felon, Thomas is prohibited from owning or possessing forearms or ammunition.

Thomas was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 27.