Shoplifting Suspect Accused of Assaulting Store Employee

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Brian Elkins

BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) -- A Boaz teenager is accused of trying to steal a $14 item from Walmart, and he faces up to 10 years in state prison if he is convicted of robbery.

Police said 18-year-old Brian Allen Elkins assaulted a loss prevention officer at Walmart who suspected him of taking a door lock set and stopped Elkins from leaving the store.

Officers got a call Wednesday evening from Walmart security about a possible shoplifter.

"My officer gets up there and comes to find out that elkins has already struck the loss prevention guy a couple times with his fists," Boaz Police Chief Terry Davis said.

"They go to the ground and [Elkins is] still striking him with his fist."

Davis said customers and other employees teamed up to restrain Elkins.  The store security guard suffered several scratches and bruises but was not seriously hurt.

"He turned a misdemeanor shoplifting over a $14 lock set into a robbery third degree charge," he said, as the robbery charge includes the assault during the suspected theft.

"You're talking about a fine and some jail time in a city jail, versus hard time in a state prison.  It just doesn't make any sense," Davis said.

"And when they were searching him getting ready to transport him to the police department after getting all his information, they found some Oxycodone in his pocket so we charged him with illegal possession of prescription drugs also."

Investigators said the bottle had someone else's name on it and they don't know if Elkins stole it or bought it from someone else.  Davis says he wonders if Elkins was under the influence, and he is also suspicious of the item the teenager is accused of taking.

"What are you going to use it for?  That's a good question," Davis said.

"Why just take a lock or a lock set?  What was he going to do with it?"

Davis said a burglar could break a lock to get into someone's house and then install a new lock set to cover up the forced entry, so it might be a while before the victim notices.