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Robbery suspect pleads not guilty

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BENTONVILLE -- A Bentonville man police said confessed to robbing a pair of Dollar General Stores because he needed rent money pleaded not guilty today.

Zachary Lucero, 27, is charged with with two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of theft of property. He entered his not guilty plea at his arraignment before Circuit Judge Robin Green.

Chance Rowe, 17, is also facing charges in connection to the robberies. He is charged as a adult and is set to be arraigned at 8 a.m. July 24 in Circuit Judge Brad Karren's court.

Police arrested Lucero and Rowe on June 11 in connection with the armed robbery of the Dollar General at 2107 S. Walton Blvd. in Bentonville. Two masked people took less than $1,000, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Two people also stole $2,900 on June 10 from the Dollar General at 1201 S. Eighth St. in Rogers. The suspects, one armed with a handgun, took money from two cash registers and fled in a white sports utility vehicle, according to court documents.

Lucero told Steve Vera and Aaron Faust, Bentonville police detectives, he and Rowe were "driving around looking for stuff to rob" because he owed $2,125 in rent, according to the affidavit.

Lucero said they parked on the back side of Heritage High School and walked to the Dollar General where they demanded the money. The store is just west of the high school.

Lucero claimed Rowe brought the gun with him from Oklahoma. Lucero said he never touched the gun and didn't know if it was loaded, according to court documents.

Lucero said he didn't wear a mask in the Rogers robbery, but when he saw his photograph on social media after the robbery he decided to wear a surgical mask during the Bentonville theft, according to the affidavit.

Rowe told detectives he helped Lucero commit the robberies and was the one who pointed the handgun at cashiers, according to the affidavit. Rowe said Lucero gave him the gun.

Rowe is charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, theft of property, theft by receiving and possession of a defaced firearm, all felonies; and theft of property, a misdemeanor. He's being held in the Benton County Juvenile Detention Center on a $300,000 bond.

Lucero is being held in the Benton County Jail with a $100,000 bond set.

NW News on 07/18/2017

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