Accused shoplifter facing robbery charge after hitting clerk

Accused shoplifter facing robbery charge after hitting clerk

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A man accused of walking out of a store without paying for a soda faces a robbery charge after investigators say he hit a store clerk and threw merchandise at him.

According to a probable cause affidavit, 33-year-old Antonio Bernard Burton walked into the Clark gas station, 4502 E. Nettleton, on Sunday and walked out with a soda.

When a clerk confronted Burton outside the store, he gave the drink to the employee. Then followed the clerk into the store and began yelling at him, the court papers said.

"Antonio began knocking items off of the counter into the floor," the documents said. "Antonio walked towards the end of the counter and began throwing items at the clerk."

When the employee tried to call 911, police say Burton hit him in the face, knocking the phone from his hand.

Burton picked up the man's phone, the affidavit stated, then hit the clerk in the face again before walking off.

When the clerk told him to return the phone, police said Burton threw it onto the ground "causing significant damage."

After reading the affidavit, Craighead County District Judge David Boling found probable cause Tuesday to charge Burton with robbery; shoplifting $1,000 or less; criminal mischief; and interference with emergency communications.

When told he was facing a robbery charge, Burton interrupted the judge and asked why.

"I didn't rob anybody," Burton told the judge via Skype. He told the judge he had cash in his pocket and gave the soda back to the clerk.

After listening to Burton's objections, Boling set his bond at $15,000 and told him to appear in circuit court on Nov. 22.

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