Bowen said Neal kicked and punched the clerk before demanding money from the store’s safe. The clerk told Neal she could not access the safe and then Bowen said Neal fled the scene.
"Detectives viewed the surveillance video and recognized the suspect," Bowen said, leading to his arrest Tuesday night on South Greenwood Road.
Neal was charged with Criminal Intent, Robbery, which he said includes the assault he committed against the store clerk. Luckily, Bowen said Neal was not carrying a weapon and pointed out the situation could have been much worse if he had been.
"My understanding is that he was in jail and just recently got out," Bowen said of the suspect.
Bowen said the clerk did not need serious medical attention and "had some bumps and bruises," and pointed out they were fortunate things hadn’t been worse. The clerk asked that her name be kept confidential.
Of Neal’s previous 42 arrests, Bowen said most were burglaries and thefts and said Neal is being held at the Wilson County Jail.
"Somebody like this, the only thing that will keep them from committing these crimes is by putting them in jail," Bowen said.
He said the detectives and officers with the LPD did a fantastic job identifying the suspect through the video footage and for quickly finding him and bringing him into custody. Bowen said repeat offenders such as Neal were a danger to the community and expressed relief that his officers were able to keep at least one off the streets.