CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have now charged two men in connection to the robbery and beating of an ice cream man.
Toribio Alberto, an ice cream man, says multiple people attacked him on Archdale Drive last Tuesday night. He said he thought the assailants were potential customers until they started to rob him.
Police say both Wesley Fontaine and Romell Mackey have been taken into custody. It is unclear exactly what role they played in the incident, but both are now facing felony robbery charges.
While both men have prior arrest records, Mackey appears to have had extensive trouble with the law.
In just the past few years 22-year-old Mackey has been arrested more than 30 times in Mecklenburg County, accused of committing a range of crimes. Mackey has been accused of shoplifting, drug possession and larceny. Some charges are more serious than others. Mackey has previously been charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting a public officer, first degree burglary and felony conspiracy. After his most recent arrest, Mackey was charged for robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Marcus Philemon runs the CharMeck Court Watch, a program designed to keep tabs on repeat offenders like Mackey. He spoke to WBTV regarding the 22-year-old suspect in an interview Monday night.
"This individual's been arrested more than 30 times in three years. There's a problem there- that this individual is out," said Philemon.
The Court Watch executive director questions the actions of the magistrates who are setting bond amounts for repeat offenders.
"He's been arrested on similar charges in the past and the bond amounts are all over the place, so there's no consistency," explained Philemon.
Mackey's latest charges appear to be some of the most serious accusations he's faced, but this doesn't come as a surprise to Philemon. He's tracked other repeat offenders who have followed a similar path.
"We've seen it time and time again. When you're not held accountable for the lower crimes, the crimes seem to accelerate and seem to get worse," said Philemon.
He said he just wants to see justice served when it is due.
"It's simply embarrassing that our criminal justice system is as [relaxed] as it is," said Philemon.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Mackey served a prison sentence in May of 2017 for attempted burglary and breaking and entering. Mackey was incarcerated for a little longer than a month before being granted parole. In early 2018 he was incarcerated for 3 months due to a parole violation. Less than two weeks after his release, he was charged for a crime in Guilford County and was subsequently placed on probation again in June.
He now has a combined $80,000 secured bond as a result of his most recent arrest.
A GoFundMe page for Toribio Alberto has already far surpassed its fundraising goal.