Jeffrey Don Griffith of Caldwell allegedly robbed another man at knifepoint in a Sonic drive-in on Monday night over what he said was a payment discrepancy, according to a police report.
Griffith is charged with felony robbery and a felony persistent violator enhancement, as well as a probation violation for a 2016 charge of unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, court documents show.
According to the police report, the alleged robbery took place shortly before 11 p.m. at a Sonic at 3212 Cleveland Blvd. The victim, whom police did not identify, said he was parked in a stall at the fast-food restaurant waiting to place an order. While he was parked, he said, a man he identified as a coworker named Jeffrey got into the passenger seat of his car.
The victim explained that he had verbally agreed to pay Griffith $15 an hour for help on a construction job completed the day before. Griffith had worked about 13 hours and been paid for that time, the victim told police. According to the victim, after getting into the passenger seat of the victim’s car, Griffith said he wanted $400 instead of the amount he was paid.
Griffith allegedly held a pocket knife to the victim’s stomach and told the victim to give him the money, the police report states. Griffith then took the victim’s cellphone and car keys, again demanding the money or Griffith would “leave (the victim) leaking here right now.”
Around that time, a Sonic employee came to the passenger window of the victim’s car to deliver previously-ordered ice cream to Griffith. That distracted Griffith long enough that the victim was able to escape.
The victim and Sonic employee went inside the Sonic store, where the victim called police. Griffith allegedly left the scene in a silver Honda with several other people.
Officers went to several homes, unsuccessfully trying to track Griffith down, before Griffith called police and agreed to meet officers around 1:30 a.m. Officers found him sitting on a porch where they agreed to meet and arrested him.
According to the police report, Griffith admitted that he was an employee of the victim’s and had helped him on a masonry site. However, Griffith claimed the verbal agreement with the victim was for $400 in compensation. Instead, Griffith said, the victim paid him only $100, promising the rest at a later date.
Griffith said he was already at Sonic ordering the ice cream when he noticed the victim pull up to a stall nearby. Griffith told police he went to the victim’s car to ask for the rest of his money; the victim then willingly offered his phone, car keys and a pack of cigarettes as collateral. Griffith also denied threatening the victim with a knife.
Griffith is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 9.