Thurston County Watch

A 47-year-old man was arrested by Yelm police and booked into Thurston County Jail on Thursday, May 7, on charges of first-degree robbery while armed with a deadly weapon.

Ronald E. Barnum is being held at the Thurston County Jail on $100,000 bail after he allegedly stole a hand basket full of merchandise from the Yelm AutoZone, then threatened an employee and another individual with a knife when they confronted him.

Yelm officers were dispatched to a call at AutoZone, located at 1208 Yelm Ave., at about 3:20 p.m.

It was reported that a male subject wearing a white shirt and denim jeans exited the store through a fire door with a hand basket containing $250 worth of merchandise that was not paid for, according to the case report. The male was later identified by Yelm police as Barnum.

An employee and a citizen chased Barnum and confronted him outside the nearby Dairy Queen where the suspect fell, dropping the merchandise. While attempting to detain him, the suspect allegedly displayed a knife.

“Their description was that he became more aggressive at that point, so they backed away,” Assistant Police Chief Rob Carlson said.

Barnum then allegedly ran across Yelm Avenue to the nearby Jack in the Box, where Yelm officers made contact with him in the parking lot and took him into custody without incident.

Barnum sustained injuries to his elbow, Carlson said, but no one else was injured.

Police retrieved a Kershaw folding knife from Barnum’s front left pocket, the police report states. From his right pockets, police retrieved a number of shaved automotive keys.

Carlson added there was a Department of Corrections felony warrant out for Barnum at the time of his arrest.

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