Suspect held without bond at county jail


FARMINGTON — An Upper Fruitland man is accused of robbing a Farmington grocery store, battering a security guard and threatening an employee with part of a broken glass bottle.

Lovelle Benallie, 21, faces seven charges, including robbery, aggravated assault, battery, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct, according to court records.

Benallie had not been assigned a public defender today, according to court records.

An officer for the Farmington Police Department was dispatched to the Safeway grocery store on 3540 E. Main St. around 5:05 p.m. on Dec. 28 on a report of a possible robbery, according to the probable cause statement.

Three employees at the grocery store were interviewed by police.

The store manager told police Benallie became hostile after a security guard started to watch him, according to court documents. Benallie allegedly battered the security guard, striking him repeatedly in the ribs and punching him in the face.

The suspect followed by allegedly grabbing a glass bottle of sparkling cider and throwing it across the store, nearly striking a family with two young children, according to court documents.

The manager stated Benallie grabbed the neck of the broken bottle, ran toward the liquor department, took a case of beer and left the store.

The officer spoke to a third employee, who stated she had tried to stop Benallie, but he pushed her away. Benallie allegedly raised the broken neck of the glass bottle and pointed it at the employee "in an aggressive manner," according to court documents.

The employee responded by raising her hands and slowly retreating. Benallie then allegedly threw the broken glass at the employee as he fled the store.

He was arrested in a nearby neighborhood, according to court documents.

The suspect was being held today at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a no-bond hold.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to hold Benallie without bond pending trial.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday in Aztec District Court. His preliminary hearing in Farmington Magistrate Court is set for Wednesday morning.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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