SALEM — A Kmart loss prevention officer ended up with a broken nose and broken orbital bone after his encounter with a shoplifting suspect Tuesday evening.
Carmelo Baez, 35, of Lawrence is in jail and facing a number of charges.
Police were called to Kmart at 7:20 p.m. for a robbery report. The suspect had fled the scene, leaving an injured store worker behind, according to Lt. Robert Morin.
Officer Ryan Sambataro was on his way to the store when he noticed Baez running through traffic on Route 28. After a brief struggle, Morin said, the officer was able to disarm Baez and put him under arrest.
The Kmart employee told police he confronted Baez outside the store after Baez allegedly stole a Boost prepaid cell phone, valued at $99.99.
Baez allegedly responded to the confrontation by punching the employee in the face, breaking his nose, orbital bone and possibly giving him a concussion, Morin said.
As Baez took off on foot, he allegedly threatened the employee further, saying he had a knife and would stab him. He never brandished a weapon, Morin said, but police found a box cutter in his pocket during his arrest.
A box cutter is considered a knife, Morin said, because it’s “a weapon that can cause serious bodily injury.”
Baez was no stranger to Sambataro, who has arrested him in Salem last year on drug charges, Morin said. In fact, there was an outstanding electronic bench warrant for Baez because he failed to show up in court to answer the drug charges last year.
He is charged with robbery, second-degree assault, a felony charge of criminal threatening with a weapon, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and the bench warrant.
He was jailed overnight on $5,000 cash bail. He was arraigned yesterday morning in 10th Circuit Court in Salem.