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Westminster resident allegedly punches man, takes his money

Nathaniel J. Eckard
Nathaniel J. Eckard (Carroll County Sheriff's Office)

A Westminster resident faces assault charges after he allegedly punched a man at a local convenience store and took his money, police say.

Nathaniel J. Eckard, 21, of the 800 block of Ewing Drive, was charged with first-degree assault, robbery, reckless endangerment, and theft, online court records show. He is being held without bond.

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A man told Westminster police Eckard approached him outside the Jiffy Mart on East Main Street on May 31 to ask for a light, and when the man reached for his lighter, Eckard punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground, according to charging documents. Eckard told the man he had a gun and threatened to kill him if he did not hand over his money, so the man gave him approximately $60, charging documents read. Eckard allegedly kicked him in the chest multiple times while he was on the ground.

The man said he had walked to Jiffy Mart from his home between 8 and 9 p.m., withdrawn money out of the ATM, made a purchase, and was walking toward home when Eckard came up to him in the parking lot, charging documents state. The man told police he didn’t know Eckard, and that he said something about “stabbing him” if he did not give him money, police wrote.

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After the man gave Eckard what money he had, Eckard asked if he had more at home and followed the man back to his residence, where the man gave Eckard a $20 bill, according to charging documents. The man tried to push Eckard out of his apartment, then Eckard punched him in the face again, knocking the man to the ground, charging documents state. The man got up and pushed Eckard out of his home, police wrote.

Police recognized Eckard from previous experience with him after reviewing surveillance footage from Jiffy Mart and footage from the man’s property manager, charging documents read. Footage from Jiffy Mart showed the man handing Eckard a cigarette, the two talking, and the man reaching into his pocket to pull out what appears to be money before the two walk out of the camera’s view around 9 p.m., according to charging documents. Footage from the property manager showed Eckard and the man walking into the man’s apartment building together at 9:07 p.m. and then Eckard leaving alone at 9:18 p.m., charging documents state.

Police interviewed the man June 1 at about 11:30 a.m. about the assault, noting he had bruises on his face, and particularly severe bruising around a nearly shut left eye, police wrote.

Police obtained surveillance footage from the property manager June 2 and from Jiffy Mart June 3, according to charging documents. Eckard was arrested June 4.

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There was no attorney listed for Eckard online.

He has a preliminary hearing set for July 2.

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