A Morristown man was drunk when he got into an argument with a convenience store clerk and left after refusing to pay a portion of his bill because of an ATM fee, police said.
Craig Nichols, 37, was arrested and charged with shoplifting and disorderly conduct at 2:30 a.m. Monday. According to a police report filed by Officer Joseph Heuneman, the officer heard several screaming voices from the area of while conducting a property check of the Midtown Shopping Center.
While inside his police vehicle about 30 feet from the store, Heuneman observed a man quickly exit the store as another man followed, police said.
As the second man attempted to open the door, the first man—later identified as Nichols—slammed the door closed with his fist while cursing at the other man, according to the report.
The second man—later identified as a store employee—tried again to open the door, but Nichols this time kicked the door closed, then spit on the glass, police said.
Heuneman exited his vehicle and took hold of Nichols, police said. Nichols told the officer he was afraid of the store clerk who was chasing him, according to the report. Around this time, dispatch had received a call from the store claiming a customer had refused to pay for items, police said.
Heuneman noted in his report that it was apparent at this time that Nichols was "significantly intoxicated," police said.
Heuneman spoke with the store employee who said Nichols had approached the counter with a Haribo-brand gold bear, a small Italian sub, two packages of beef jerky and a box of Entenmman's-brand cookies, at a total of $22.18. Nichols gave the clerk a credit card, which was denied, according to the report.
The clerk then told Heuneman that Nichols went to the ATM machine inside the store—which charged him a $5 service fee—to withdraw $100. When he came back to the register, Nichols only gave the clerk $17, claiming it was because of the service fee at the ATM, according to the report. An argument ensued and Nichols ultimately attempted to leave the store, according to the report.
Nichols was then arrested and transported to the . En route, Nichols claimed he had only been arrested "to fill quotas" and that police should "review the tapes," which showed him being chased by the clerk, according to the report.
While Nichols was in a prison cell, police also noticed that he took a piece of toilet paper, moistened it and affixed it to the camera, blocking its view, according to the report. Officers then went into his cell and placed Nichols in ankle leggings, according to the report.
Nichols was later released on his own recognizance, pending a court date.
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