Conway man arrested after police said he tried to stab Wal-Mart employee during shoplifting

A Conway man was arrested on charges of shoplifting and assault after a Wal-Mart employee told police the man tried to cut him with a knife when he tried to stop him from leaving the store with merchandise he had not paid for, according to a police report.

Conway police charged James Nathan Johnson with shoplifting and second-degree assault and battery and he was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center at 1:55 p.m. Saturday, according to jail records. Johnson was released at 4:42 p.m. Sunday on $3,600 bail.

Officers were called to the store at 2709 Church St., at 11:54 a.m. Saturday, according to a Conway police report. Police learned the 30-year-old employee went to stop Johnson, who was suspected of shoplifting, but Johnson brandished an open lock blade knife and tried to cut the victim.

The victim was able to step away from Johnson before he was hurt, but did get the merchandise, two toy dolls valued at $445.95, according to the report. Johnson ran into a wooded area near El Bethel Road, and police began to search that area for him.

Police found Johnson about 30 minutes later. He denied being at the store and said the video surveillance photos was from a visit earlier that day, according to the report. The victim and a witness identified Johnson and he was arrested.