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Theft of beer could grant man long prison sentence

A case of unarmed robbery that seemed to be more of an annoyance than a danger to anyone could land a 23-year-old man from Saginaw Township, Mich., behind bars for 15 years. Police charged the man for stealing a single bottle of beer and for what they labeled as assault on a female clerk, who was working at the store where the alleged crime occurred.

The incident played out during the afternoon hours one day at a local convenience store. The suspected man was a regular customer at the store and police claim he went in to purchase a single 24-ounce bottle of beer. However, the man did not have his ID on him, so the staff member refused to sell him the product.

Not long after, the man went around to the back of the building and entered through a door there. The clerk saw the man come through the door and go into the cooler where the beer was stored. The clerk confronted the man and told police that he had a bottle of beer in the pocket of his jacket.

In attempts to stop the man, the clerk asked for it back. She told police that the man shoved her and ran away.

Police consulted security footage to determine the man's identity. The clerk was also able to confirm that the alleged thief was the suspect in question. Police tracked down the man at his home, but he said it was not him. Officers were unable to find the bottle of beer he allegedly stole, but he did smell of alcohol.

The suspected man is currently on probation. The reasons for his probation were not made known by media reports.

Police have little evidence to go off of - outside of the security tape - that could tie the man to the crime. He could fight the charges via a jury trial or admit his guilt if he was in fact involved. Admitting guilt could grant him a lesser sentence. Considering the severity of his crimes, a 15-year prison term would be completely excessive.

Source: MLive.com, "Police: Saginaw Township man assaults clerk in stealing Labatt Blue beer from Bay County store," Cole Waterman, Feb. 13, 2013

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