Originally Published: May 28, 2004 7 a.m.
PRESCOTT – A 44-year-old Prescott woman faces multiple felony charges in connection with an incident at a grocery store that started out as a case of shoplifting but then reportedly turned into an armed robbery.
Linda Marie Johnson is in custody on one count of armed robbery, four counts of aggravated assault and one count of misconduct involving weapons.
Prescott Police Department (PPD) spokesman Scott Reed said that at around 12:35 p.m. Thursday Johnson ordered a cooked chicken at Albertson's, 174 E. Sheldon St. He said she started eating the chicken while in the store and then allegedly attempted to leave the supermarket without paying for it.
Reed said at that point an employee confronted her and escorted her to an office area away from the customer floor, adding that once there, she allegedly pulled a .38-caliber revolver concealed under her shirt and pointed it at an employee.
Another employee then grabbed Johnson and was able to pull the gun away from her before it fired, Reed said. Two other employees aided the employee in restraining Johnson until PPD officers arrived, he said.
Upon arrival, police took custody of Johnson and then booked her into the Yavapai County Jail, Reed said.
Johnson was initially combative with the police, Reed said, adding that the four counts of aggravated assault stem from the fact that four employees were involved in the confrontation.
He said one of them suffered minor injuries to a hand while taking the gun from Johnson. The misconduct involving weapons charge stems from her actions, he said. Police are looking into possibly filing an additional charge related to carrying a concealed weapon, but they first have to investigate whether she had a permit for it. "Right now, it doesn't appear to be the case," Reed said, adding that it was fortunate that no one was seriously hurt in the incident, thanks to the quick response of all the employees.
Reed said he is unsure what type of policy the store has related to carrying weapons.
The store manager was unavailable for comment and a manager for the afternoon shift declined to comment.