What would have been a simple misdemeanor theft charge became first-degree robbery after police say a Corbin man hit and injured an auto parts store employee that attempted to foil his getaway last Thursday afternoon.
Twenty-eight-year-old Christopher Millard pleaded not guilty to the charge at his arraignment Tuesday in Whitley District Court.
Judge Fred White set the case for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 31.
Corbin Police were called to Advanced Auto Parts on Falls Highway about 3:45 in response to a complaint that Millard had struck the employee with a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
According to Corbin Police Captain Coy Wilson, the department’s public affairs officer, Millard was attempting to flee the store after taking some type of Bluetooth device.
“The victim went outside and got behind the car,” Wilson said. “When he did, Millard actually backed into him, knocking him down.”
Millard fled the scene.
However, Wilson said the victim, who was familiar with Millard, gave police the vehicle’s license plate number.
Wilson said the victim suffered minor injuries in the collision.
Corbin Police Lt. James Miller found Millard on Gilliam Street Saturday night and took him into custody without incident.
Wilson said Millard would have faced one count of theft by unlawful taking under $500. However, hitting and injuring the employee during the commission of the theft fits the legal definition of robbery under Kentucky law.
Millard is being held in the Whitley County Detention Center on a $25,000 cash bond.
Under Kentucky law, first degree-robbery is a Class B felony, carrying a potential prison sentence of 10 to 20 years.