Target Shoplifter Arrested on Many Charges
Lynchburg, VA - ABC 13 has learned more details on the incident at Target on Wards Road yesterday. A man was arrested on several charges.
"He was saying, put it on the shelf and put your hands up," said Julia Ross who was shopping at Target with her girls during the incident.
Around 4:30 Sunday afternoon, loss prevention workers at Target said they noticed a man using a knife to open and stealing items from the electronics section. Since the man had a weapon, they followed Target's protocol and called police.
Julia Ross had just sent her twin daughters to the toy aisle and became alarmed after a few people ran past her frantically.
"She looked at me and said oh my God, what did they say? There's a guy in electronics with a gun?" Ross said.
Ross got to her girls and was able to move them away. At that time, Police were arresting Michael Alan St. John, 48. They said they found other knives in his pockets and a gun he did not have a permit for.
"It's absolutely protocol for them to approach that person with their weapons drawn because they have to protect themselves and they have to protect of course other people that would be in the store at the time," said Lt. Dave Gearhart of the Lynchburg Police Department.
Police said they had the situation under control and no one was in danger. Target still allowed customers to come and go from the store, which not everyone inside agreed with.
"They had absolutely no knowledge that this was happening in the back of the store at the same time, which alarmed me," said Ross.
Target's loss prevention wouldn't go on camera, but they did say they had the situation under control and did not see a reason to cause panic in the store.
The store said they kept the incident contained in the back area of electronics.
The suspect was being held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail and will be facing seven charges, including grand larceny and possession of narcotics and marijuana.