Walmart fiasco results in charges

NASHUA – The 22-year-old Hudson man who allegedly grabbed a cell phone from a Walmart employee, fled the store, then spit on and “became combative” when police confronted him, later told officers his phone broke and he was just trying to replace it, according to police reports.

Jake Powers, of 24 Roosevelt Ave., was ordered returned to Valley Street jail in Manchester for Wednesday night, then transported back to Superior Court Thursday to meet with counselors for a mental health assessment.

Judge Charles Temple said that while he agrees with the prosecutor that Powers, if simply released on personal recognianze bail, would present a danger to others as well as himself, he also wanted Powers to be evaluated as soon as possible to determine what the next steps should be.

The charges Powers faces include one count of robbery, a felony, along with one count each of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest or detention, and attempted simple assault on a police officer, all Class A felonies.

Police said officers were called to Walmart shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, and upon arrival spoke with a store employee who said the suspect, later identified as Powers, “used force” to grab a cell phone from the employee then fled the store.

Officers a short time later located Powers at his residence, but according to the prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Brett Harpster, Powers “denied having anything to do with” the incident.

He also allegedly refused to allow police to search his car, then allegedly told police he was going to get in his car and leave.

As officers attempted to detain Powers, he “became combative,” allegedly spitting on two officers and a police cruiser. He allegedly struggled with the officers, but was ultimately taken into custody and transported to police headquarters.

He allegedly made references to suicide while in a holding cell, Harpster said, adding that those comments were among the reasons he asked Powers be held on preventive detention.

Attorney Amanda Steenhuis, a public defender who represented Powers at Wednesday’s bail hearing, said Powers has no criminal record, and he works full time and takes classes to become a certified electrician. He’s also in treatment, Steenhuis said, and asked Temple to release Powers on personal recognizance bail in order to continue treatment and go to work.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.