By Alexandra Quilici
Earlier this month Christopher Keck walked into Bizarro World, a Davis store filled with comics, cards and games, and allegedly put a video game underneath his sweatshirt. The owner and manager of the store, “DU,” and his son, “XU,” recognized Keck as someone who had shoplifted before.
Frustrated, XU approached Mr. Keck and demanded he give back the game that Keck seemed to be trying to hide. Keck insisted that he had money to pay for it, however, since XU believed he was a regular shoplifter he just wanted him out of the store and did not want to hear his arguments.
Officer David Dudley took the witness stand and testified that from there things quickly escalated. Officer Dudley said that the commotion occurred toward the front of the store, and, when XU and Mr. Keck started arguing, XU’s dad noticed Keck was in possession of a pocketknife.
DU shouted, “He has a knife!” to his son, and from there Keck was pinned at the door. XU told Officer Dudley that Keck took several swings at his stomach with the knife. DU then responded by punching Keck in the face several times. When the officer arrived, he described Keck as being “very bloody.” He estimated that the defendant was punched in the face around 10 times. These actions led to the knife being dropped on the ground and no longer in danger of being used.
When Officer Dudley questioned Keck, the defendant said that he had money to pay for the game, and showed the officer the money that would have been enough to cover the cost. However, since the employees had had “previous encounters” with him, they did not believe that he actually had intentions of purchasing the product.
A second officer was called the witness stand, Officer Keirith Briesenick, who questioned one of the bystander witnesses. She said that the knife came within a foot of the witness. She saw Keck try to leave the store after being approached, where the owner then detained him and put him under a “citizen arrest.”
In final statements, Deputy Public Defender Lisa Lance tried to make the case that her client did not have the intention to steal because he carried the appropriate amount of money with him. She also said the owner and his son unfairly presumed they recognized her client as a shoplifter, when there was no concrete evidence that he had shoplifted in the past. Finally, she said Keck was aggravated into acting aggressively, and that the charges should be reduced to brandishing rather than assault.
Deputy DA Carolyn Palumbo argued that the intent to steal was there because Mr, Keck put the game under his sweatshirt. He also waved the knife around and clearly pointed it at someone, which is considered attempted assault.
Judge Daniel P. Maguire agreed that the assault charges should remain, and that there was evidence of intention to steal. He said, however, he understands that the defendant was met with a rather harsh approach from the working employees.
Regardless, since the judge determined there was enough evidence to proceed, Mr. Keck is scheduled for arraignment on February 8 at 8:30am in Department 10.