Potential coffee shop robbery turns into car chase after barista fires warning shot

Juneau police say a man who attempted to rob a Mendenhall Valley coffee shop Wednesday morning got more than he bargained for when the barista turned out to be armed.

According to police, Charles Clasby, 38, walked up to The Grind coffee shop on Jensine Street around 4:18 a.m. and told the female barista, 24, he was going to rob her. He went back to his car and got a wrench.

As he approached the coffee shop again, the barista fired a single shot into the air from a pistol. Police say Clasby returned to his car and began ramming the building with it.

When the barista got into a customer’s car and fled with them, Clasby followed them. Police stopped him for traffic violations on Egan Drive and took him into custody.

He was charged with robbery, assault, criminal mischief and violating conditions of release and is being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center without bail.

The Grind was still open for business later on Wednesday.

Owner Kristel Liska estimated there was about $3,000 in damage to the coffee shop, but it could be more. She said the entire building shifted and there are cracks on the inside where Clasby rammed his car into the outside wall.

Liska said even though her employee wasn’t injured in the incident, the experience was traumatic, and she will be taking some time off.

“We’ve done a temporary fix to the building. I think it’s mostly my employee that has the most damage,” Liska said.

Liska also said she knew Clasby before the incident, but her employee did not. She said she does not feel like he had a personal grudge against the business.

That incident is still being investigated.

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