Shoppers at Palm Coast’s Target late Monday afternoon must have thought the store had turned into the set of a low-budget CSI chase scene.
Not long before 6 p.m., Yuli Ilchenko, a 22-year-old native of Kiev, the Ukraine’s capital, sporting the tattoo of a topless woman on his left shoulder, walked into Target and headed for the electronics aisles. According to a police report, Ilchenko–who reports his current status as “student”–then grabbed a portable, compact Western Digital hard drive, with a capacity of 500 gigabytes, selling for $128.39.
He then removed the security device, removed the hard drive from its packaging, placed the hard drive in his pocket (the thing is about 5 by 3 inches, and barely half an inch thick, and weighs about 12 ounces) and walked to the grocery side of the store, from where he exited the place without passing through any of the cash registers, according to the report.
At that point, Justin Dopp, a Target security officer, confronted Ilchenko, who’d been under surveillance. Ilchenko tried to run. Dopp was joined by two more individuals–Matthew Fenraz and Melissa Curran–while a customer, whose name isn’t known, grabbed Ilchenko to help apprehend him. Ilchenko struggled, kicked, pushed: it took all three individuals to restrain him until police arrived at the scene.
Ilchenko stopped resisting when the Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy arrived, and said he’d been with a friend in the store, but wouldn’t reveal the friend’s name. He also said that he knew that he’d been under surveillance. And he had no shoes on.
Ilchenko, of 16 Prescott Lane in Palm Coast, was arrested last October on five charges of possessing drug-cultivation paraphernalia. On Monday, he was charged with strong-armed robbery under the state’s purse-snatching law, a third-degree felony, and held at the Flagler County jail on a $1,500 bond. As of Tuesday morning, he was still at the county jail.
The hard drive was damaged in the incident.