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RACINE — A Milwaukee man is accused of robbing a local gas station and threatening a clerk with a machete.

Matthew J. Harris, 40, is charged with one count of armed robbery as a repeat offender, a Class C felony, in the April 9 incident. The charge carries a maximum sentence of $100,000 and/or 40 years of imprisonment.

According to the criminal complaint:

Racine police were dispatched to Better Day BP, 2100 Douglas Ave., for an armed robbery complaint. A clerk told police that a man came into the store, walked around for a while, then approached her and demanded, “Gimme all your money.”

When the clerk refused, the man walked around the counter and approached another clerk, who displayed a baton to defend herself. The suspect then allegedly pulled a black machete from his pants and made the clerk open the register. The man took about $500.

“Nothing personal, I’m in a bad spot right now,” the suspect allegedly said.

The man was then observed entering the passenger side of a gold Santa Fe that was waiting by a gas pump.

Officers reviewed surveillance video of the incident, which showed the suspect producing the machete.

On April 10, an officer saw a Santa Fe at different locations along Park Avenue and observed that the driver matched the description of the suspect from the armed robbery. The officer conducted a stop.

Harris was identified as the driver and appeared emaciated and gaunt, similar to the surveillance video of the armed robbery suspect. A search of the vehicle produced a sheathed knife between the driver’s seat and the console. An investigator removed the knife from the sheath and observed the knife had a long blade, was black and “machete-styled.”

The investigator showed one of the clerks a photo line-up of suspects, and the clerk identified Harris as the robber.

Harris made his initial appearance in the case Monday, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court Access online records, and his bond was set at $5,000. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. April 25.

Harris’ prior record includes convictions for armed robbery in 2010 and battery in 2009.


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