Police: Phone stolen from Butler County Walmart employee leads to assault report

Police took a report of a phone stolen from an employee at the Oxford Walmart store Sept. 10 and the next day a report of felonious assault resulting from that one when a second phone and another victim got involved.

The original theft was reported at 10:14 p.m. at the Walmart store. An employee in the electronics department placed his phone on the counter when a patron he described as “jittery” asked about some devices. The employee turned to get a game controller and the man grabbed his phone and “bolted” from the store.

The phone was described as a Samsung A-20 with a black pop socket Otter Box phone case. Total value was estimated at $220. Video surveillance footage showed the man as wearing a red face mask. He seemed to have red hair and had tattoos on his arms. Two pictures were provided to police.

In one of the pictures, it appears the male is in the store with another male.

The same officer was on duty the next day at 5:19 p.m. and was told someone had information about that report of the stolen phone. He responded to an address on College Corner Pike and met with a woman, who said she had reported to another officer that morning she had not been able to locate her phone. She said a male, who was not identified in the report because he was an uncharged suspect, had asked to use her phone for a task.

Without her knowledge, she said, he was trying to use her phone to unlock or open a phone he admitted he had stolen the day before. She told the officer the male had bragged to her he had a nice A20 phone a Walmart employee had put down and he “swooped it up.”

Later in the afternoon of Sept. 11, she said, she was visiting a friend and the uncharged suspect showed up and had words with her friend about his taking the woman’s phone. She said it escalated until her friend tried to separate from him by getting into the woman’s vehicle and backing out of the driveway and heading down the street. The uncharged suspect allegedly followed the vehicle on foot and picked up a pair of hedge clippers as he walked.

She said he swung the hedge clippers at her friend twice so that he felt he needed to defend himself and retrieved a metal bar from the vehicle, which he used to defend himself swinging it several times at the uncharged suspect.

The woman’s friend said he wanted to press charges but she had her phone back and did not want to press charges for theft. The officer told them there would be further investigation and any charges would be determined later.

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