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Deputies: Shoplifter tries to strike store employees, flees from police

Court records said a Huntington man faces multiple charges after he attempted to take two expensive jackets from a Putnam County store, tried to strike two employees who confronted him and then was arrested after a police pursuit.

John William Benson II, 36, of Huntington is charged with fleeing in a vehicle, two counts of assault and shoplifting, according to information posted on the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.

A criminal complaint said a Putnam County deputy responded to a call Thursday at Magic Mart off the Teays Valley exit, where a shoplifter was wrestling on the ground with a store manager. The store called 911 back and said the shoplifter had fled the area in a vehicle.

The deputy said he saw a vehicle matching that description off Interstate 64 in Hurricane. He pulled the vehicle over and approached the driver’s window. The officer said the driver matched the description of the suspect that store employees had provided.

When he asked the driver to step out, he put the vehicle into gear and took off, eventually getting back on I-64 westbound. Deputies said the vehicle continued for several miles and was stopped after spike strips were used. The suspect was then taken into custody.

Store employees at Magic Mart said the suspect tried to conceal two Carhartt jackets, valued at $290, under his shirt. When they confronted him, he tried to strike them but missed, the complaint said.

Benson is currently being held at Western Regional Jail on a $10,000 surety/cash bond.

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