Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a Hilo man who was arrested in connection with a robbery Wednesday at a store in Hilo.

At 11:46 a.m. Wednesday (September 9), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a robbery outside a department store at a shopping center on Puainako Street.

Police determined that a man had entered the store and concealed merchandise in his backpack. He then exited the store without paying for the items. When a 23-year-old store employee approached the suspect, the suspect struck the employee in the head with a closed fist and then left the area on foot heading toward another shopping area across Makaʻala Street.

The victim did not require medical assistance.

Officers were able to locate a man matching the suspect’s description in the parking lot of the second shopping area. After further investigation, he was arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock, where  he was identified as 26-year-old Lance A. Ulep of Hilo, who was wanted on a bench warrant for violating probation in another case.

At 8:20 p.m. Thursday (September 10), detectives charged him with second-degree robbery, third-degree theft, third-degree assault and second-degree criminal trespass. He was released into the custody of Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center after his bail was set at $6,250.