Police say man brandished knife during shoplifting incident

Published 11:16 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Joshua Eggers

Joshua Eggers

A Carter County man faces multiple charges after police say brandished a knife at two employees of a local grocery store, injuring one of them, as they attempted to detain him in a suspected shoplifting incident.
Officers of the Elizabethton Police Department arrested Joshua Eggers, 36, 1541 Southside Road, Apt. 1, Elizabethton, on Sunday and charged him with shoplifting, disorderly conduct and two counts of aggravated assault.
According to court documents, officers of the Elizabethton Police Department were dispatched to the Food City grocery story on Sunday night, around 8:15 p.m., after a 911 caller reported a shoplifting incident had occurred and the suspect was fighting with store employees.
EPD Cpl. Kirk Carrier said when he arrived on scene he saw a man, later identified as Eggers, lying on the sidewalk and being detained by a Food City employee, identified as Neelyn McElyea. Officers placed Eggers in handcuffs for safety while an investigation into the incident was conducted, Carrier said.
“I made contact with Food City Manager, Mr. William Pritchard, who stated Mr. Eggers was observed attempting to leave the store with $37.13 worth of merchandise without paying for the items,” Carrier said.
Pritchard told officers he spoke with Eggers and asked him to accompany him to the office to address the shoplifting and to issue Eggers a ban from the store. Pritchard said Eggers began to walk away and when he reached for him to prevent him from leaving a physical altercation ensued.
“Mr. Pritchard stated during the altercation Mr. Eggers reached for a knife that was sheathed on his left side. Mr. Pritchard said he believed Mr. Eggers was reaching for the knife in effort to use it towards him,” Carrier said. “Mr. Pritchard stated he feared for his safety and the safety of other employees so he reached for the knife and secured it in effort to prevent Mr. Eggers from using the knife during the struggle.”
Pritchard told officers during the struggle Eggers pushed him and McElyea through the sliding entrance doors of the business, which caused the doors to come loose from the tracks and swing out.
“Mr. Pritchard stated once outside Mr. Eggers brandished another knife but Mr. McElyea was able to get the second knife way from Mr. Eggers, but not before receiving a small minor laceration to one of his fingers,” Carrier said.
Officers took Eggers into custody and transported him to the Carter County Detention Center.
Eggers appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Monday where he was arraigned on the charges against him. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Eggers and set his bond at $1,500. Bowers also ordered Eggers to have no contact with Food City, Pritchard or McElyea. Eggers is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 13.

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