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Houston woman, alleged accomplice, remain jailed in Waco cell phone store robbery in 2021

McLennan County officials on Monday unsealed the two-count indictment against Ayona Tunstill
McLennan County officials on Monday unsealed the two-count indictment against Ayona Tunstill,...
McLennan County officials on Monday unsealed the two-count indictment against Ayona Tunstill, 26. Tunstill and Aaron Stephon Akins, 37, both were indicted by a McLennan County grand jury in May 2021 in the robbery of a Cricket Wireless store.(KWTX)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 4:03 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Houston woman suspected in a string of robberies across Texas, and named in a sealed indictment, remains in the McLennan County Jail on charges she and an alleged accomplice robbed a cell phone store in Waco last year.

McLennan County officials on Monday unsealed the two-count indictment against Ayona Tunstill, 26, that charges her with aggravated robbery in a Jan. 6, 2021, incident at Cricket Wireless, 1607 N. Valley Mills Drive.

Tunstill and Aaron Stephon Akins, 37, both were indicted by a McLennan County grand jury in May 2021 in the Cricket Wireless robbery. Akins was arrested in the robbery and remains in the McLennan County Jail. However, Tunstill had never been arrested in the Cricket Wireless robbery, so officials sealed her indictment until she was in custody.

Court records show Tunstill was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aggravated robbery in Bexar County earlier this year and then returned to McLennan County on Friday to answer the aggravated robbery charges here.

An affidavit to support Tunstill’s arrest alleges she and Akins have been arrested for or are suspects in multiple robberies throughout Texas, including ones in Leander, San Antonio and Houston.

“The robberies of other cell phone stores in other jurisdictions are the exact same modus operandi as this criminal offense,” according to the affidavit in Tunstill’s case. “(The detective) can link the suspects to the Waco robbery through surveillance video and witness statements which show the same clothing was worn, same personal accessories worn, and same vehicle used as in other criminal offenses where both Akins and Tunstill were positively identified.”

Besides the Bexar County conviction and the pending charges in McLennan County, Tunstill is charged in Harris County with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and credit card abuse and in Lee County with aggravated robbery and failure to appear, court records show.

Tunstill and Akins are charged in McLennan County with posing as customers at the Cricket Wireless store until Akins brandished a pistol and forced the two store employees into a back room. Tunstill left the store and returned with a large duffel bag, which she used to load $623 from the cash drawer and about 20 new cell phones from the store’s safe. She also took the personal cell phones from the two employees, according to the arrest affidavit.

Witnesses told police that Tunstill and Akins fled the scene in a black Chevrolet Camaro.

“(The detective) was able to positively identify the suspects through information received from outside agencies where Akins and Tunstill committed a robbery of a Cricket Wireless store in Giddings on 01/24/21 and were arrested during the flight from that offense while both armed with handguns and in possession of stolen cell phones from the store and personal cell phones of the clerks,” the affidavit states.

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