Police: Man Reached for Box Cutter During Attempted Robbery

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- A Hiawatha man has been charged with first-degree robbery after he allegedly tried to steal hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise Saturday.

Jeffery W. Middleton, 23, of Cedar Rapids, is accused of trying to leave Sears, 4600 First Ave. NE in Cedar Rapids, without paying for items valued at $600. Store employees intervened and prevented the theft, police said.

Officers were dispatched to the store around 3:2o p.m. Saturday when the incident was reported. According to a criminal complaint, Middleton got into a physical altercation with employees when they tried to stop him. Police said Middleton was reaching for a box cutter knife during the incident.

The store employees had scratches on their faces as a result of the incident, but were not seriously hurt.

Middleton was taken to the Linn County Jail. He was free on bond by Tuesday morning.
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