By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
A local man has been charged with attempted armed robbery outside of the local Wal-Mart using a box cutter.
The incident occurred March 15, at about 9:30 p.m. as a Wal-Mart employee, Timothy Pearson, was leaving the building.
Pearson said he saw the suspect, identified by Picayune Police as 23-year-old Derek Lamartina of 88 Herb Lee Fred Spiers Rd., walking in front of him out of the store. Just as they walked out of the store Lamartina turned to walk towards the drink machines, but he suddenly turned to Pearson holding an opened box cutter and demanded all of his money, Pearson said.
“He was dead serious, I saw the look in his eye,” Pearson said.
After demanding the money, Pearson said he asked if the assailant was serious, to which Lamartina replied with a second command to give up his money. However, Pearson said he was not willing to give up his wallet, and at that point Lamartina changed his story, and acted as though he was playing a joke and had confused Pearson for a friend of his.
Lamartina then walked to his vehicle, which was parked near the entrance of the store, and drove off quickly, Pearson said.
“Luckily, he realized I wasn’t going to back down,” Pearson said.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said a complaint was filed at the department about the incident the next day. Investigation along with witness statements led to identification of Lamartina, Magri said, and a subsequent tip on that same day led the officers to Lamartina’s location in front of a shopping center on Memorial Boulevard. Magri said officers went to the shopping center and arrested Lamartina on the charge of attempted armed robbery.
Magri said during Lamartina’s arrest officers conducted a pat down and found a box cutter in his pocket. Also, a search of Lamartina’s vehicle uncovered two more box cutters inside, Magri said.