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Employees restrain armed man for allegedly stealing from store in Sterling

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Justin Phillips photo from Sterling Police

Police say a combative, armed homeless man was restrained by employees after he tried to steal from a store at Northland Mall.

The theft was reported at Bergner’s department store just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

“Upon arrival, officers found store employees had the suspect, who was identified as Justin A. Phillips, 32, homeless, restrained near the mall’s rear entrance,” said a statement from the Sterling Police Department.

Phillips was allegedly combative with Bergner’s employees as he was trying to leave the store.  Police said they found a stolen firearm on Phillips when they searched him.

Phillips reportedly took less than $300 worth of merchandise.

Police said they charged Phillips with aggravated battery in a public place, aggravated assault in a public place, armed violence, possession of a firearm with out a FOID card, possession of ammunition without a FOID card, possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

Phillips was held in the Whiteside County Jail.