SALT LAKE CITY — Two of three teenagers charged in juvenile court with committing a series of violence convenient store robberies that culminated in the stabbing of a clerk now face charges in adult court.
Halapaini Moala, 17, of Salt Lake City, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with robbery, a second-degree felony. Cypress Leo Burgess, 17, was charged last week with the same crime. A third 17-year-old boy had not been charged in 3rd District Court as of Thursday.
In December 2018, all three were charged in juvenile court with between 10 and 15 counts each ranging from aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, to retail theft and minors in possession of alcohol. One of the boys was 16 at the time of the alleged crimes.
From Nov. 24 to Dec. 15, Salt Lake police responded to multiple reports of aggravated robberies and thefts throughout Salt Lake City, specifically at Maverik and 7-Eleven convenience stores, and at a Walmart. The thefts are believed to have been committed by the same people and "the levels of force increased during each incident," police wrote in a search warrant affidavit.
Court documents indicate the boys could be linked to at least eight robberies. The most serious occurred on Dec. 15.Comment on this story
Just before 4 a.m. that day, all three boys entered a 7-Eleven at 1157 W. California Ave. (1300 South), and without being provoked, chased the clerk and stabbed him, the charges state, before the clerk ran into a back office.
"You have to come out or I will stab you again," one boy told the clerk, according to the charges.
Police say the clerk was stabbed again several times, including in the neck. The injuries were not life-threatening.
Later that day, all three boys went to Walmart, 350 W. Hope Ave., where police say they shoplifted watches, jewelry and a jacket. After his arrest, Burgess told police "he needed a new sweater and a necklace for his girlfriend," the charges state.