Kingsport man, allegedly stealing $29 batting gloves, threatens Kmart employees with pellet gun

Rain Smith • Jan 6, 2010 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — For the second time in two weeks, personnel at a Kingsport Kmart were forced to disarm a shoplifting suspect.

In Tuesday’s incident, the alleged thief pulled out a pistol — later discovered to be a pellet gun, designed to mimic a real firearm. A police report says the man was attempting to steal a $29 pair of batting gloves.

On Dec. 23 at the same East Stone Drive store, a man accused of stealing $207 in electronics took a swipe at employees with a knife.

According to an incident report from the Kingsport Police Department, officers were most recently dispatched to the store Tuesday at 1 p.m. When they arrived, loss prevention personnel had a man in custody.

In their report, police identified the suspect as Larry W. Byington, 29, 1812 Arden Lane, Kingsport. Kmart employees reported seeing the man take the batting gloves, then attempt to leave without paying for them.

The report states Byington was confronted by store personnel in the parking lot, where he then produced a small black pistol “and attempted to threaten them with it.” The police report states the employees were able to disarm him, discovering afterward that the weapon was a pellet gun.

Byington was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and theft under $500.

A similar incident involving an accused shoplifter occurred two weeks ago at the same location. The suspect, identified as Michael Hall, 37, 1000 Stonegate Road, Apt. G14, allegedly brandished a small pocketknife at loss prevention employees and threatened, “Get off me or I’ll cut you!”

A Kingsport police report said Hall then attempted to cut one of the loss prevention officers. However, he was successfully detained outside the store until police arrived, arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.

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