Robber Who Targeted Belk Stores Now Behind Bars

A man sentenced on robbery with a dangerous weapon and drug charges reacted to the verdict by shouting expletives at the judge.

Joe Tyson Jr., of Grifton, was sentenced Wednesday in Washington to 13 to more than 16 years behind bars.

Officials say Tyson was arrested in June 2009 after trying to steal from the Belk's store in Washington, then slashing at store staff with a razor blade on a utility knife when they tried to detain him until police arrived. Tyson took off but was later found with the knife and heroin.

Tyson, who is 54, has a long criminal history of larceny, shoplifting and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Before the Beaufort County crime, his record stretching back to 1988 included convictions in Lenoir and Pitt counties.

Tyson has been locked up since his 2009 arrest.

According to District Attorney Seth Edwards, "Tyson had a history to stealing from Belks and assaulting employees all over North Carolina."

“The fast action by Belk management and the quick response of the Washington Police Department was very important to the apprehension and prosecution," reports Edwards.

According to the D.A.'s office, "following the entering of the sentences Tyson expressed his disdain and displeasure at the results of the jury verdict and sentence rendered by repeatedly yelling expletives at Judge Godwin."

Superior Court Judge Walter Godwin presided over the case.

Edwards also commended Michael Holloman, the Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted Tyson, as well as Detective Dean Watson and Officers Steve Waters, Christopher Hobbs and Donald Clodfelter of the Washington Police Department for their efforts in the investigation and prosecution.

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