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Colorado man accused of robbing Corvallis bakery – of coffee

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A Colorado man has been arrested in Benton County after an alleged robbery in which he is accused of helping himself to coffee at a Downtown Corvallis bakery and then later confronting an employee at knifepoint.

Clyde Johnson, 39, was arrested by the Corvallis Police Department on Oct. 13 and booked into Benton County Jail.

He was arraigned in Benton County Circuit Court on Thursday, Oct. 14 for charges of first-degree robbery, unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and third-degree theft. Johnson pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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According to court documents, on or about Wednesday, Oct. 13, Johnson allegedly used a knife or blade during a robbery after he allegedly stole coffee valued at less than $100 from New Morning Bakery in Corvallis.

A probable cause affidavit lays out the day's events. It states that a Corvallis police officer was dispatched to the bakery at around 8:29 a.m. New Morning Bakery owner and manager Tristan James reported that Johnson entered the store several times and asked patrons for coffee. James alleged Johnson had been seen doing the same thing the day before and appeared to be disturbing customers.

According to James, per the affidavit, Johnson grabbed a cup and poured himself coffee. This is valued at approximately $1.95. He did not pay for the drink and left the store. James, who followed Johnson out of the building and down the street, confronted the suspect while trying to take his photo.  

Johnson allegedly stopped and confronted James, pulled out a blade and said: “If you get any closer, I’ll stab you,” according to the affidavit. James said he believed Johnson was going to cut him.

The affidavit says the officer found Johnson at Northwest Fourth Street and Northwest Van Buren Avenue, and Johnson admitted to being involved in the alleged confrontation.  However, Johnson told the officer that it was James who was threatening him. Johnson also denied pointing the blade at James.

Later the same day, at about 1 p.m., the police officer contacted an employee of the bakery who was present during the incident. The employee said a man with white hair paid for Johnson’s original meal and coffee. However, refills are not free, and the staff was certain that Johnson did not pay for his refills.

In an email, James said this is not the first time the bakery has been a victim of this kind of crime.

“We strive to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all of our customers and staff, (and) occasionally we find ourselves in harm's way when trying to maintain that environment,” James wrote. “Such incidents have certainly become more frequent in the last few years; however, we have always had excellent support from the Corvallis Police Department and community at large in supporting us, in keeping our space safe for patrons and employees.”

During an arraignment on Oct. 14, Judge Joan Demarest set Johnson’s bail at $50,000 and ordered the defendant to not have any contact with victims or possess any dangerous weapons.

Corvallis-based attorney Thomas Hill is representing Johnson, and Steven Thiel is serving as prosecutor for the state.

Johnson’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 25.

Maddie Pfeifer covers public safety for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6091 or Madison.Pfeifer@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @maddiepfeifer_

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