A Damascus man is behind bars after reportedly pushing a Walmart employee during an attempted shoplifting incident Wednesday.
Phillip E. Hull, 39, faces a robbery charge following the incident.
Charges against the Damascus man stem from a shoplifting complaint the Conway Police Department received around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. A loss prevention officer called authorities to the Walmart on Dave Ward Drive after the 39-year-old pushed her out of his way as he took off running after she confronted him about the stolen items, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The woman said she had followed Hull through the store “and observed him conceal several items into a backpack he had brought into the store.”
As he walked past the check-out lanes, the LPO said he “attempted to apprehend Hull.”
The Damascus resident claimed he needed to meet up with someone to get money before he fled the store, according to officer Jason Case’s report.
“Hull told her he had to meet someone for money. As she tried to get him to come to the office, he pushed her with both hands, knocking her away and he ran out of the store to the parking lot,” the report reads in part. “She contacted the police and watched as Hull hid in the nearby field where officers located him.”
According to officer Matthew Boyd’s report, once officers detained Hull, he “complained of chest pain” so paramedics and other first responders were called to the scene to check on him.
After first responders “evaluated him and believed him to be okay, he still requested to be transported to a hospital.” Once hospital staff cleared Hull, he was taken to the Faulkner County Detention Center, the report states.
The Damascus man appeared Friday morning via video conference before District Judge David L. Reynolds for a first appearance regarding the newly-filed case.
When he learned he was being charged with robbery, Hull questioned court officials why he wasn’t facing a shoplifting or theft of property charge.
“If you use force in any way, that’s called a robbery,” Reynolds said.
Hull, who is charged as an upper habitual offender because he has four or more previous felony convictions, was ultimately ordered to remain behind bars without bond.
Hull is scheduled to appear next Sept. 16 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a plea and arraignment hearing regarding the allegations against him.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.