Topeka man charged with multiple felonies after allegedly stealing Lawrence woman’s cellphone by force

photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections

Anthony D. Harris pictured in April 2016

A Topeka man has been charged with multiple felonies for allegedly stealing a cell phone from a woman and threatening a man with a stick on Thanksgiving, according to charging documents.

Anthony Duane Harris, 56, is charged with one felony count of robbery; one felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a stick; one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to a cellphone; and one misdemeanor count of battery, charging documents in the case said.

As the Journal-World previously reported, Harris was arrested on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, in the 1600 block of Haskell Avenue.

Laura McCabe, a spokesperson for the Lawrence Police Department, said that on that day, a man approached a woman and her son as they were entering their apartment and forcibly took the woman’s cellphone. The son was able to get inside, but the woman told police that the man used physical force to stop her from going in. A relative of the woman, who was inside the apartment, heard what was going on, came out to help, “and things escalated,” McCabe said. The woman got inside and called police.

McCabe said an officer was able to deescalate the situation by warning the suspect that he would use his Taser if he didn’t comply. Backup officers arrived, and the suspect was arrested safely, McCabe said. She said police believed the suspect “was impaired by drugs and alcohol.” The relative who tried to help was injured but was treated at the scene, McCabe said.

On Monday, Harris was scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court via a Zoom call from the Douglas County Jail. However, he would not stand in front of the camera, and he could be heard shouting expletives at Judge Blake Glover and jail staff. Glover then rescheduled Harris’ court appearance for Tuesday, and when Harris appeared on Tuesday his demeanor had changed and he acted confused as to why he was there.

“I don’t know what to say. I am so confused. I have no money,” Harris said when Glover asked if Harris wanted to be appointed an attorney.

The state was represented by Assistant District Attorney Christen Secrest and Alex Bertz, a legal intern with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. They asked for a bond of $50,000 cash or surety for Harris, citing Harris’ extensive criminal history and a previous charge of aggravated escape from custody. According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, Harris has a criminal record going back to 1992, including multiple felony convictions for theft, burglary and drugs in Shawnee County — and dozens of disciplinary reports within the prison system. Bertz said Harris could face at least 10 years in prison if convicted of the robbery charge.

Glover agreed to the $50,000 bond amount and appointed Cooper Overstreet to be Harris’ attorney. Harris is next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 6 for a status update on his case. He is currently being held in the Douglas County Jail.


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