Special-needs child tied up during robbery at tax preparation business

KEMAH, Texas – Kemah Police said they’ve arrested one of two suspects accused of robbing a tax preparation business and using zip ties to hold the owner, his girlfriend and 14-year-old son, who has special needs. 

Investigators said around 4 p.m. on Dec. 26, two men entered the E-Z Tax Services on 1201 SH 146 wearing ski masks, hoodies and greenish-yellow reflective vests. 

“I knew it could happen, but I never expected it to happen -- we got robbed at gunpoint,” explained Roberto Hinojosa, who owns the business. 

He said initially he thought the two men where customers but quickly realized they were not there to take care of their taxes. 

Surveillance video shows the two men walk in and go up to Hinojosa’s girlfriend and show a gun. They then show the gun to Hinojosa, who put his hands up and got on the ground next to his girlfriend.

The video shows the suspects then placing zip ties around their wrists. 

“They said get on the ground, so I got on the ground and they asked where all the money was. They were asking for more money, but still took everything from the drawers,” said Hinojosa.

His 14-year-old son is seen wearing a red jacket and runs outside the store and stands next to the door.  Hinojosa said that’s when one of the suspected robbers ran after him and brought his child back inside. 

“When I saw this guy running, I thought he was going to shoot him or something, so I just said, ‘Hey, he’s a special-needs kid, man, he doesn’t understand,” said Hinojosa.  “He was asking my son to get on the ground, but my son was just crying, he was scared, he didn’t understand.”

The video shows the suspects tugging the 14-year-old around and then dragging him toward Hinojosa and his girlfriend. 

“I was nervous , I kept telling the guy he was special needs and that he doesn’t understand.  He dragged him over here and put him on top of us; my son kept getting up because he was afraid and he was just crying,” explained Hinojosa. 

He said the suspects also took their wallets and his girlfriend’s phone, along with the keys to his car.  

Kemah Police said they located Hinojosa’s car and tried to pull over the suspect, but he led officers on a chase. 

Investigators said the suspect then crashed into a house in the Bay Ridge neighborhood and ran on foot.  Police used a dog to find the suspect hiding behind a shed and arrested Chandrick Benefield. 

Police are still looking for the other suspect; if you any information, call police. 

Editor's note: This story was originally published on KSAT's sister station's website, Click2Houston.com.