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A Texas teenager claims he was just joking when he allegedly tried to rob a police station -- but now the joke's on him.
Keithan Manuel, 18, is behind bars after he walked into a police station in Wilmer, Texas, and told a dispatcher behind a window to "give me all your money," police told Dallas' KTVT. He pointed a hand, covered by a towel, at the dispatcher.
The dispatcher says she laughed it off at first. But then Manuel allegedly said something that got him arrested.
After his demand for money wasn't taken seriously, Keithan Manuel asked the dispatcher to check on a ticket. But as she started a records check, Manuel said, "Well, you know I have a gun, right?" the dispatcher told KTVT.
The dispatcher called for backup, and officers quickly took Manuel into custody. Manuel did not have a gun, but he is facing several charges, including robbery, for his police station antics.
In general, robbery requires the use of force to commit a theft. But in Texas, a person can also be found guilty of robbery if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly threatened a victim, or caused a victim to fear bodily injury or death. An actual theft does not have to occur.
There are several defenses to robbery in Texas, however. Keithan Manuel may try to argue he didn't intend to rob the police station, or that the dispatcher didn't fear bodily injury or death.
Manuel insists he was just joking. "I swear to God I didn't say nothing like that," he told KTVT. "Man I play like that all the time. I didn't think she would take it seriously." You can see more of his KTVT interview here:
Keithan Manuel's mother told KTVT her son has mental issues, and has been suicidal. If convicted of robbery, he could face a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.