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Fayetteville Homeless Man Pleads Not Guilty To Robbery, Theft Charges

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A Fayetteville homeless man pleaded not guilty last month to stealing from a Dollar General and attacking a store employee.

Joe Freddie Montoya, 39, is charged in Washington County Circuit Court with felony robbery and misdemeanor theft of property.

His next hearing is set for April 8.

Fayetteville police arrested Montoya in December 2018 after he allegedly shoplifted from the store at 1221 S. School Ave. and then fought with the store manager who tried to stop him.

The store manager said he first watched for several minutes as Montoya put several items in his pockets, according to an arrest report.

As Montoya prepared to leave, the manager closed and locked the front door and demanded that Montoya empty his pockets, the report stated.

Montoya took some things out, but the manager refused to let him leave because he believed he still had other items belonging to the store.

That’s when Montoya and the store manager began wrestling, and eventually both men landed on the ground, the report said.

Police observed where the store manager’s shirt collar had been stretched, consistent with the manager’s account.

Police said that surveillance showed headphones falling out of Montoya’s pockets. An anti-theft device on the headphone packaging had been removed with a hammer and placed on a nearby shelf. Police found the device and hammer.

In Arkansas, robbery is a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.

Montoya was being held Tuesday (Feb. 5) at the Washington County Detention Center on a $3,500 bond.

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