14-year-old accused of threatening store clerks with machete

OKEECHOBEE — A 14-year-old Okeechobee juvenile was arrested Wednesday morning after he was accused of taking money from a store by threatening the employees with a machete and stealing an SUV.

Jose Eduardo Reyes-Santos, Northwest Eighth Avenue, was arrested April 11 on felony charges of robbery with a deadly weapon, grand theft auto and false imprisonment by threat. He was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail and then transported to St. Lucie Regional Detention Center in Fort Pierce.

Jose Eduardo Reyes-Santos, 14

According to an arrest report by Deputy Joseph Hall, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), at approximately 9:46 a.m. on April 11, he was dispatched to the 3600 block of U.S. 441 North in regard to an armed robbery complaint. Dispatch informed law enforcement that the suspect, wearing a purple Okeechobee Yearling Middle School sweater and wielding a machete, robbed a store of $600 in cash and stole a 2008 black Chevrolet Suburban from one of the store employees.

Upon arrival Deputy Hall made contact with the store employees and requested Deputy Robert Gonzalez respond to the scene due to a language barrier. The store employees were sisters and both were visibly upset and crying. The employees informed the deputies that a young Hispanic male entered the store wearing a purple Yearling Middle School sweater, mask and black shorts. He was also apparently carrying a machete in his right hand and had his left hand wrapped in something. They also stated that he spoke fluent Spanish.

The report continued the youth demanded money but at first, the employees thought it was a joke. They then realized he was serious when he raised the machete and walked toward the front of the counter. One of the sisters said they walked to the cash register and gave Reyes-Santos all the money inside. She said he then demanded the keys to her vehicle. The robber then reportedly told the sisters to get inside the cooler of the store, which they did.

The sisters then said that after they were in the cooler, the robber apparently pushed the potato chip rack in front of the door, stole a Gatorade from the cooler and exited the store. The sisters got out of the cooler and saw the robber drive off with the one sister’s vehicle.

OCSO crime scene technicians Kathleen Watson and Kayla Ammons arrived on scene, took pictures and gathered video surveillance footage. A blue rubber glove and a five dollar bill were found behind a shed that is located in the north side parking lot where the Suburban had been parked.

The video footage corroborated the information provided by the sisters to dispatch and law enforcement on scene.

Deputy Tyler Ott located the stolen Suburban at the Okeechobee Sports Complex in the 500 block of Northwest 27th Lane. Deputy Ott saw a male wearing a red sweater and a black back pack walking around carrying a machete, pursued the individual and apprehended him.

Reyes-Santos was arrested, transported and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail before being transported to St. Lucie Regional Detention Center in Fort Pierce.


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