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Man indicted after allegedly hitting Publix employee, stealing cigarettes
David Johnson
David Luther Johnson, 49, of Lithonia was arrested on Saturday, July 27 and is charged with felony strong-arm robbery of a business, felony aggravated battery and giving a false name, address or birthdate to law enforcement. - photo by Photo courtesy of the FCSO

A suspect has been indicted on three counts after an alleged altercation with an employee at a grocery store earlier this year.

In September, David Luther Johnson, 49, of Lithonia, was indicted by the Forsyth County Superior Court on counts of theft by shoplifting, battery and giving false information to an officer after allegedly attempting to steal 10 cartons of cigarettes and assaulting an employee at Publix at 3120 Mathis Airport Parkway in July.

His case will be heard in Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Philip C. Smith’s court.

According to the indictment, Johnson reportedly stole more than $500 in cigarettes from the store, caused bodily harm to “the nose, elbow and shoulder” of a female employee and gave a false name and date of birth to law enforcement. 

According to Forsyth County Jail records, Johnson remains in the jail on a $1,120 bond. 

According to an incident report from Johnson’s arrest, police were called after an employee reportedly saw him stealing cigarettes from the store’s loading dock. 

“[The victim] stated that when she confronted the male, he became argumentative and when she attempted to retrieve the cigarettes the suspect struck her in the face,” the responding officer reported. “She stated that during the altercation the suspect struck her in the face multiple times and restrained her by pinning her to the ground with his knee on her throat.”

Per the report, the victim did not lose the ability to breathe or consciousness but “received multiple injuries in the assault.” The report states the victim had “apparent broken bones” from the incident.

After Johnson fled, the victim “then got up and chased the suspect on foot” before getting a ride from a delivery driver from a nearby pizza restaurant, according to the report.

A manager reportedly witnessed the assault and told an employee to contact police and saw Johnson “leaving on a bike with a large quantity of cigarettes in a black milk crate on his bike.”

The victim and the delivery driver followed the suspect until losing sight of the suspect after he reportedly went behind a gas station at the intersection of Old Atlanta and Sharon roads. 

Cameras from the store did not capture the incident.

The report said deputies found the suspect hiding behind a small hill in the parking lot of Cross Church at 2850 Old Atlanta Road, where he was arrested.

When arrested, Johnson was in possession of nine cartons of Marlboro Lights and one carton of Marlboro Ultra Lights, valued at just under $800. The cigarettes were returned to Publix.