Man sent to prison for guilty plea in Coon Rapids robbery

A man has pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court to a felony charge following his arrest for a shoplifting incident at a Coon Rapids hardware store that turned violent.

In a plea agreement, Randy James Clark Jr., 35, no permanent address, entered a guilty plea to felony simple robbery charge.

At sentencing Oct. 1, a first-degree aggravated robbery charge was dismissed and Clark was sent to prison for 45 months with credit for 63 days spent in jail since his arrest. Restitution totaling $891.16 was ordered to be paid.

The morning of July 31, Coon Rapids Police responded to the Ace Hardware store, 9680 Foley Blvd., on a report of a robbery in progress.

According to the complaint, a male, later identified as Clark, and an adult female entered the store and staff became suspicious so they watched them as they walked through the store.

A store employee saw Clark take multiple items off the store shelf and immediately place them in his pocket, then he alerted other employees who saw Clark walk out of the store without paying for them.

The store owner and another employee confronted Clark outside the store as he and the woman entered a vehicle.

When Clark had difficulty starting the vehicle, the employee approached the driver’s side door and attempted to take the keys out of the ignition, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that Clark threatened to kill the employee, then pulled out a razor blade-type knife and swung it toward the employee, who put his arm up in a defensive manner, but the arm was sliced.

Clark fled from the vehicle and was seen running southeast into the wooded area by Heritage Auto Body on Coon Rapids Boulevard.

Police set up a perimeter and Clark was spotted by the Foley Boulevard Park and Ride, according to the Coon Rapids Police report.

He was apprehended on Foley just north of the Park and Ride after being Tased because he did not comply with police commands.

Following the arrest, both the store owner and the employee who was hurt positively identified Clark as the shoplifter and the man who had threatened and attacked the employee.

A glass methamphetamine pipe rolled up in a napkin as well as a capped hypodermic needle were found on Clark.

According to the complaint, Clark appeared to be under the influence of drugs at the time of his arrest, making the comment that he owed a guy $300 to $400 and if he did not pay by 4 p.m., he was going to be killed, so he “had to do it.”

The value of the items shoplifted from the store by Clark was $34.79.

Clark was wanted on a felony Cass County stolen property warrant and also had other felony convictions for drug use, check forgery, burglary and theft, according to the Coon Rapids Police report.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]

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