A man was arrested after allegedly shoplifting from a store in Surprise and then engaging in an altercation with responding officers, including biting at least one officer in the hand.
Surprise police said Bobby Lee Banta, 38, of Phoenix was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail Thursday afternoon upon his release from the hospital.
In an emailed statement, Surprise police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski stated Mr. Banta was observed shoplifting by loss prevention staff at Home Depot, 13760 W. Bell Road.
“The loss prevention agent called in to PD to report the crime in progress,” Mr. Klarkowski stated. “When officers arrived on scene Bobby pushed them and took off running. Officers gave chase and were able to catch up to Bobby, however, he continued to fight. During the struggle Banta was Tased and ultimately taken into custody with only minor injuries. Officers also sustained minor injuries during the conflict.”
Records released Monday morning indicate Mr. Banta allegedly tried to push a shopping cart full of items valued over $300 past all points of entry. To note, the probable cause statement says the incident occurred at Walmart, but Mr. Klarkowski confirmed it was at Home Depot.
An arriving officer told Mr. Banta he would be placed in handcuffs and detained. However, it appears Mr. Banta allegedly pushed the officer and fled out of the loss prevention office. Other officers arrived as the initial officer chased the suspect.
Mr. Banta was said to have passively resisted by keeping his arms tensed and prevent himself from being handcuffed.
“Bobby grabbed the handle of another officer’s Taser and pulled it from his external load carrier vest,” records state. “This damaged the vest but left the taser still in it’s holster.”
Mr. Banta reportedly pushed, kicked and bit at officers. Records state Mr. Banta bit one officer’s right hand while several officers tried to arrest him.
“Bobby sustained several abrasions from the fight, was drive stunned with a Taser, and was finally overcome by several officers on scene before he stopped resisting,” police state.
Mr. Banta denied any alleged actions once under arrest.
Records state the officer whose hand was bitten was treated at a local hospital, which Mr. Klarkowski said was minor. Mr. Banta was also found to have no serious injuries or conditions.
Commissioner Utiki Spurling Laing found Mr. Banta not bailable due to being on felony release. Records indicate he also had warrants out of Maricopa County and Dewey-Humbolt in Yavapai County.
His next court appearances are Thursday, Friday, and Monday, March 25. He faces charges including two felony counts of aggravated assault on an officer, one felony count of resisting arrest and one count misdemeanor shoplifting.