“As soon as I saw the knife I disengaged from the suspect,” a Target store employee testified yesterday, December 10, about his confrontation with a suspected shoplifter three weeks ago.
The loss prevention officer said it was defendant William Larkin Kemp IV who threatened him about 8:30 p.m. on November 20..
Thirty-two-year-old Kemp pleads not guilty to felony robbery. He has 13 different criminal cases in San Diego County, going back to 2009 when he was 23 years old.
The employee said he has worked at the Target store on El Camino Real in Oceanside more than three years. He said on that Tuesday night last month he observed a man putting batteries into pockets of his baggy clothing.
The witness said he waited outside the front doors, on the sidewalk, for the alleged thief. “I was wearing my security uniform.” That is a blue polo shirt with a security badge on the front left side, and the word SECURITY across the back. The witness said he does not carry weapons but he does have handcuffs.
“I told him I was Target security,” the witness said. But, “He just walked right into me.” The suspect’s shoulder struck the employee on his chest, he said. That was when the employee took hold of the man’s left wrist. “He said to let him go, and that he had a knife.” The suspect used his right hand to show a knife to the employee, who said the blade was pointed at him.
Kemp is described in Sheriff’s records as 6 feet tall and 150 pounds. The Target employee said he is 6 feet tall and 165 pounds.
At that moment a senior loss prevention officer appeared on scene and “I was informed by Mr. Williams to let him go since he had a weapon,” the first employee testified.
Williams, the second security employee, also testified. “And the guy said he would effing stab you!” Williams said when the suspect was released he backed away and “He continued to shout back, 'Touch me like that again and I’ll fucking stab you! Yeah, look! You’re scared now!' ”
Both witnesses identified defendant Kemp as the man with the knife.
Kemp was arrested by Oceanside police that same night. His defense attorney asked for a reduction of the $115,000 bail amount, but a prosecutor told the judge that Kemp has ten prior FTAs (failures to appear) on previous court cases. Judge Carlos Armour declined to lower bail.
Kemp has three other, current court cases which are all misdemeanors involving meth or heroin. Judge Armour ordered Kemp to answer one felony robbery charge, and set a date in January for trial.