YORK, Pa. – A Pennsylvania man told police he grabbed a Giant employee by the throat after the cashier smashed his chips during bagging, according to charging documents.
Fairview Township Police said Bradley Alan Bower of New Cumberland told them he was “having a bad day and this issue with the chips just sent him over the edge,” documents state.
Bower, 55, faces one count of simple assault.
Reached at home on Monday, Bower said the smashed chips “absolutely wasn’t any part of it,” but he would not elaborate. He directed any questions to his attorney, Joseph A. Kalasnik.
At 8:21 p.m., on Feb. 2, Fairview Township Police responded to the Giant for a report of a customer who had choked an employee, documents state.
Police spoke with Bower, who was in the store manager’s office.
“Bower stated that while the cashier was bagging his groceries he asked him to not throw his groceries around,” documents state. “Bower said the cashier put the bags of chips in with can goods and he was smashing the chips that Bower was purchasing.”
Bower asked the cashier, later identified as Neil Lerch Jr., a second time not to do what he was allegedly doing. When Lerch was done, Bower paid for his food and then asked Lerch if he had a problem with him, documents state.
“Bower stated he got angry and he grabbed the cashier,” documents state. “He stated that he did put his hand around the cashier’s throat. Bower stated that he knew he was in the wrong.”
Police spoke with Lerch, who refused medical attention. Lerch said he was bagging Bower’s groceries and that Bower got upset at the way he was putting the chips in the bags, documents state.
Bower paid his bill and walked away, but then turned and approached Lerch, saying, “‘Do you have a problem with me, because I have a problem with you,'” documents state. Lerch, thinking that Bower was joking, said, “‘Do you?'”
“Bower then advised Neil that he did have a problem with him due to Neil smashing his chips,” documents state.
Bower then asked to speak with Lerch’s manager, and Lerch pointed to where she was. Lerch said there was a pause in any activity between the two and then Bower quickly moved toward Lerch, grabbed him by the throat and neck area and pushed him back against the register, according to documents.
While doing so, Bower said to Lerch, “‘You idiot!'”
Lerch was able to push Bower away and with other employees arriving, Bower quickly walked away, documents state.
Video footage of the incident shows Bower grabbing/striking Lerch in the throat area and pushing him against the register, according to documents.