‘Bear-hugging’ employee stops accused shoplifter

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Benjamin N. Flayton, 25, booking photo_160430

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — An employee who recognized a man as a potential repeat shoplifter put the accused into a hold and was “bear-hugging” him until help arrived, prosecutors said.

Benjamin N. Flayton, 25, appeared in court Friday on charges of third-degree robbery and first-degree theft.

According to prosecutors, Flayton walked into the Sunglass Hut store inside Lloyd Center last Wednesday around 11:15 a.m. and stole about $2,000 worth of sunglasses. That same day, around 6 p.m., Flayton tried to enter the store for a second time. “An employee recognized him and tries to stop him from entering,” Multnomah County Deputy DA Kelley A. Cloyd wrote in court documents.

Flayton pushed the employee and continued walking toward the sunglasses, court documents state. The employee grabbed Flayton as he was taking the sunglasses, Cloyd wrote. The employee was holding onto Flayton and was “bear-hugging” him. Flayton struggled with the employee but was tripped by another mall employee and taken into custody outside the store, Cloyd wrote.

The value of the sunglasses Flayton attempted to steal the second time was about $1,350, court documents state. Flayton confessed to detectives that he had stolen from the store “on 4 or 5 occasions,” court documents state. In one theft, from May 13, Flayton told the employee, “I’m sorry, I need these,” court documents state.

The value of the sunglasses taken on May 13 was around $1,800, court documents state.

Court records show before Flayton’s arrest last Thursday, he already had a pending case that charges him with first-degree theft.

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