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Rolling resident arrested in robbery

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By Mark Scohier

(from CPD report)

Chiefland police say they found 22-year-old John Christopher Champion with his wheels spinning, trapped in the sand behind a local convenience store Wednesday.

“Yeah I stole the beer,” he told police, perched upon his motorized wheelchair, already drunk and swigging a Bud Light Lime, a report stated.

Champion, according to the report, was attempting to leave the South Chevron gas station with a stolen 12 pack of beer and a roll of electrical tape at about 9:45 a.m., just minutes after also trying unsuccessfully to get the clerk on duty to give him the cash from her register.

The clerk, 54-year-old Kathy Epps, of Chiefland, told police that Champion, after coming and going for several hours, had rolled himself behind the counter and threatened her with a pocket knife. 

A struggle ensued, the report stated, and Champion tried to stab Epps with the weapon. But police say Epps got the better of the revved up robber, stabbing him in the leg three times before he gave up and motored out the door.

Police say the wheeled assailant, arrested in felony battery and robbery with a deadly weapon, told officers he had dared Epps to call the police, believing they “would not arrest a handicapped person.” Store management declined to comment on the incident Thursday.

Police never found the knife and allege that Champion told CPD he had thrown it into the woods.

 His get away chair was too big for the arresting officer’s patrol car and had to be hauled off on a tow truck. Champion was taken to the Levy County Jail where officers, according to the report, later found three wounds on his leg.