Man Charged With Robbery After Allegedly Assaulting Customer, Employee at Centralia Safeway


A Mt. Vernon man accused of assaulting a customer and an employee at a store he had been trespassed from made his preliminary appearance in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday.

Eric M. Ellis, 34, was charged with first-degree robbery and possession of a controlled substance.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Joe Bassetti requested bail be set at $50,000.

Ellis’ attorney for the day, Rachael Tiller, requested on her client’s behalf that he be released.

Judge James Lawler agreed with the state that there needed to be a secured bail amount, but cut Bassetti’s request in half and set bail at $25,000.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on May 24 Centralia police officers responded to the Safeway on Harrison Avenue where it was reported that a man, later identified as Ellis, had assaulted a customer and an employee inside the store.

When officers arrived they contacted a woman who said she was leaving the store with her two daughters when she felt someone push her from behind and kick her right thigh, according to the affidavit. The woman showed the officer marks on her right thigh.

The officers then contacted a Safeway employee who reported that Ellis had been causing issues for employees and customers for the last few days. 

He said he asked Ellis to leave the store and Ellis responded by punching him in the chin with a closed fist, according to the report.

A records check revealed that Ellis had been trespassed from the Safeway about a month prior to the alleged incident. 

Police arrested Ellis and a search subsequent to his arrest came up with a baggie in his pocket that field-tested positive for heroin.

Ellis’ arraignment hearing is scheduled for Thursday.