AP NEWS

Cinco Ranch robbery suspect targeted teen girl, officials say

April 5, 2019

A Katy man remains in custody after he was accused of pulling a knife on a teenage girl during a robbery in the Cinco Ranch area.

A Fort Bend County Precinct 3 deputy constable said he spotted James Mertes, 50, about 3:30 a.m. on April 4 at the water park near Cinco Ranch Boulevard and Westheimer. Mertes told the deputy he stopped at the park to fill his water bottle and charge his cell phone. He was allowed to go on his way after a check was made for any outstanding warrants, officials said.

The deputy was unaware Mertes was a possible suspect in the armed hold-up the day before of a 16-year-old girl in the parking lot of a business on Cinco Ranch Boulevard and Comercial Center Boulevard — about a mile away from the water park. Authorities said he teenager apparently lost her cell phone to the assailant but managed to get away from him.

“I suspect there would have been more if she wouldn’t have escaped. Glad we caught him,” Fort Bend County Precinct 3 constable Wayne Thompson said in a statement after the capture.

Deputies later confirmed Mertes had a Facebook page that said he was “looking for young girls who live in the Katy, Texas area.”

The deputy later discovered the man he spoke to at the water park matched the description of the robbery suspect - a 50-60 year old white man with gray hair and wearing desert pattern camouflage pants. Investigators later spoke to his mother after going to the address listed on the driver’s license. She relayed a message to her son, saying deputies wanted to question him in connection with the armed robbery.

Mertes told her he would meet them outside the Katy Independent School District’s transportation center at 3151 Falcon Landing. He was taken into custody when he arrived on foot. Mertes was later turned over to the Ford Bend County Sheriff’s Office. He is charged aggravated robbery and held at the Fort Bend County Jail with bail set at $100.000.

“Through persistence and hard work, our team was able to take this guy off the streets,” Thompson said.

mike.glenn@chron.com