A Battle Ground man has been charged in the robbery of the Main Street Jiffy Mart earlier this month, where the suspect was seen groping the store’s clerk.
On March 22, Matthew Zook, 39, had his first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree robbery and one count of indecent liberties while using force. Zook was in court for an incident in Battle Ground a few days prior where he allegedly demanded to touch the store clerk’s breasts while robbing her.
According to a probable cause affidavit for Zook’s arrest, shortly before 9 p.m. on March 18, a Battle Ground police officer was dispatched to the Jiffy Mart in the 100 block of East Main Street for a silent alarm. Upon arrival, the officer saw a woman in the building who appeared to be crying, and the door was locked. After the woman unlocked the door, she told the officer that the suspect, later identified as Zook, had pulled a Taser and a knife on her while she was checking out Zook’s items, demanding the items, which totaled about $89.
Zook demanded to touch the victim’s exposed breasts, the victim told the responding officer in the affidavit, which he did. The victim then told Zook that she had called the police, after which Zook “acted surprised” and ran out of the building.
While the officer was talking with the victim, the owner of the Jiffy Mart arrived, and showed the officer video surveillance of the incident, the affidavit stated. The video “was very clear” and corroborated what the victim described had happened.
Zook’s identification information was found due to the victim entering it in from his ID card, which was standard procedure for a credit card purchase, the affidavit stated. Zook was found two blocks away on Main Street hiding in some bushes, with the Taser and knife discovered in a backpack next to the suspect.
The affidavit noted that Zook had a Washington State Department of Corrections warrant when he was arrested.
Bail was set at $175,000 for Zook, and he was scheduled to re-appear for an arraignment March 26. He was issued a no-contact order with the victim, according to court documents.