By GARY POPP
An Otisco man pulled a knife on a Jeffersonville Rural King employee who confronted him after he attempted to steal a hunting range finder Thursday morning, police reported.
Jeremy Lee Middleton, 35, in an apparent effort to make himself less noticeable after police were called, took off his shirt and ran through the parking lot toward 10th Street.
Middleton was soon located outside of Walgreens, on the other side of 10th Street from Rural King, by a Jeffersonville police officer.
The officer had been flagged down outside of Rural King by an employee who reported a man, later identified as Middleton, had attempted to take a Nikon Prostaff laser range finder from the store without paying. The employee said the man had been wearing a red sweatshirt at the time of the attempted theft, but that he had shed the sweatshirt and was then running shirtless toward Walgreens. The employee pointed the man out, and the officer quickly had Middleton in handcuffs.
Two Rural King employees told police they had observed Middleton in the rear of the store attempting to disconnect a security device and conceal the range finder under a bag of animal feed.
The same employees reported to police that Middleton had later approached the exit doors, where he dropped the animal feed and continued toward the exit with the range finder, until he noticed an employee was watching him.
A third employee told police that Middleton then laid the range finder in the snack area near the front exit and walked away from it.
The employee told police she approached Middleton and asked if he had any other merchandise concealed.
“[The employee] said at that time, Mr. Middleton pulled out an open pocket knife and displayed it to her as to intimidate her,” according to the police report.
Two other employees reported to police they saw Middleton show the pocket knife to their co-worker.
The female employee told Middleton to put the knife down and he complied, according to the report.
As 911 was being called, Middleton ran from the retailer.
Middleton has been preliminarily charged with class C felony intimidation and class D felony theft.
Online court records had not been updated with the date of Middleton’s upcoming advisement of rights hearing as of press time.