Charges dropped, reduced against men in Luling frog heist

‘Shotgun’ was really fishing net handle

Charges have been reduced against one man and dropped against another who were both arrested in connection with a Luling frog robbery in July.

Ryan Tusa, 22, and Trontez Simmons, 21, were arrested after three teens told police the men threatened them with a shotgun before stealing two frogs that they had caught. It turns out that the shotgun was actually the handle of a fishing net, but the teens were unable to tell the difference because a flashlight impaired their vision, according to court documents.

Tusa, of 119 Magnolia Manor Blvd. in Boutte, was originally charged with principal to first-degree robbery and impersonating a peace officer. All charges have been dropped against him. Simmons, of 137 Sharon St. in Boutte, was originally charged with first degree robbery and false impersonation of a peace officer. He is now only being charged with robbery.

The incident occurred at 10:30 p.m. on July 17 when an 18-year-old man and two 16-year-old boys were catching frogs in a small boat in the canal at the end of Kellogg Street in Luling.

According to the teens, they were called over to the bank of the canal by a group of men who claimed to be Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents. When the teens got to the bank, they said that one of the men shined two lights in their face and asked someone in his group to “hand him his backup.” The teens told police that the man said he was not afraid to use the gun that he was handed and pumped the handle of a shotgun.

He then forced them to hand over two frogs, according to the police report.

After Tusa was arrested, he told authorities that he mistook the teens for some of his friends and planned to play a trick on them. He said that when the teens got closer, Simmons asked Tusa to give him the net.

Simmons then turned the net around and pretended that it was a gun.

Tusa said that he quickly realized that the teens were not his friends and told Simmons to stop, but that Simmons continued threatening the teens and asked them to hand over their frogs.

According to court documents, Simmons told the teens to follow him to a nearby pumping station, but the teens got out of the boat and ran for help.

Though there were three other men with both Tusa and Simmons, Tusa told authorities that they remained at least 25 feet from the incident and never got involved.

 

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