The suspect in two robberies outside South Austin businesses has been arrested and charged after his mother recognized surveillance images of him and called police, an affidavit stated.
According to the arrest affidavit, police have charged Anthony Zarate, 18, in connection to the Oct. 2 robberies outside a Slaughter Lane HEB and outside the Southpark Meadows Wal-Mart. APD noted in the affidavit that the robberies happened within one hour of each other and the locations were approximately two miles apart.
The affidavit states officers were first called to the HEB parking lot around 1:40 p.m. Oct. 2 by a woman who was approached by a man in the parking lot. The woman told police that the man – later identified as Zarate – asked for her purse and lifted his shirt to expose a weapon when she told him no. Zarate allegedly walked away when she screamed for help and got on her phone to call police.
Police were also called to the Southpark Meadows Wal-Mart around 2:20 p.m. for a service call, the affidavit said. The victim in this incident, who is nine months pregnant, told police that Zarate approached her and demanded money while showing a handgun tucked into his waistband. The woman’s husband approached Zarate from behind and yelled at him, and the affidavit stated he ran away.
According to the affidavit, police reviewed surveillance video from the Wal-Mart and observed Zarate enter the store around 1:50 p.m. and leaving approximately 20 minutes later wearing a different shirt, jacket and pants. He was also seen on surveillance video walking back and forth in the parking lot before approaching someone. The two interacted for a brief period before returning to his silver minivan and fleeing the area.
APD said they were contacted by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 11 after Zarate’s mother called to report she recognized the surveillance images distributed by the media as her son. Police searched Zarate’s room and seized several items of clothing consistent with what was seen on surveillance video, along with an airgun Anthony claimed was used in the Wal-Mart robbery. Police arrested the teen, who later commented “in the fear of the moment you would just assume it would be a real gun” to a detective during an interview.
Zarate was booked into the Travis County Jail early Wednesday morning on two felony charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Online records show he is being held on combined $50,000 bond.