Man Faces Prison Term In Theft Of 52-Cent Doughnut

Monday, October 8th 2007, 9:51 am
By: News On 6

FARMINGTON, Mo. (AP) _ It's a hefty price for a pastry: A man accused of stealing a 52-cent doughnut could face time in jail.

Authorities said Scott A. Masters, 41, slipped the doughnut into his sweat shirt without paying, then pushed away a clerk who tried to stop him as he fled the store.

The push is being treated as minor assault, which transforms a misdemeanor shoplifting charge to a strong-armed robbery with a potential prison term of five to 15 years. Because he has a criminal history, prosecutors say they could seek 30 years.

``Strong-arm robbery? Over a doughnut? That's impossible,'' Masters told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from jail. He admitted that he took the pastry but denied touching the employee. ``There's no way I would've pushed a woman over a doughnut.''

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said state law treats the shoplifting and assault as forcibly stealing property. The amount of force and value of the property doesn't matter.

``It's not the doughnut,'' Baker said. ``It's the assault.''

Masters said he didn't even get to enjoy his ill-gotten gains: He threw the doughnut away as he fled.