Headline: bond set in shoplift turned robbery

Byline: By Ray King of The Commercial Staff

A $15,000 bond was set Wednesday for a Pine Bluff man who allegedly fought with police officers trying to arrest him for shoplifting.

Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set the bond after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge Randy Willingham, 35, with robbery.

According to a probable cause affidavit from Detective Brandon Greene, police were sent to Wal Mart Saturday in response to a reported shoplifting in progress by a male who was reportedly armed with a hammer.

Sgt. Jeremy Brown reportedly saw the suspect, later identified as Willingham conceal merchandise in his blue jeans and in a grey backpack and approached Willingham. Officer Ryan Edwards arrived as well and Brown grabbed Willingham by the shoulder in an effort to take him into custody.

The two fell to the floor with Brown trying to control Willingham as he attempted to stand up and jerked away. Edwards assisted Brown who was able to get control of Willingham and get handcuffs on him.

Multiple pieces of merchandise were located and returned to the store.

Records at the prosecutor’s office showed that Willingham was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Texas in 2016 for evading arrest or detention.