CLEARFIELD – A Woodland man is being charged for allegedly plotting a February 2020 ambush with five others to assault and rob another man over money owed following an alcohol purchase.
Clayton T. Brown, 19, is charged by Officer Jonathan Walker of the Lawrence Township police with felony robbery and conspiracy/robbery; misdemeanor conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking and simple assault; simple assault and theft by unlawful taking.
The charges stem from events that occurred Feb. 19, 2020 on Bud George Road, Clearfield, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge Mike Morris.
The caller told Clearfield County Dispatch that he dropped his friend off at the turn-around, and he was then jumped and assaulted by a group of people. He said he and his girlfriend fled to the BP Station to call 911.
Because Walker had an extended estimated time of arrival, he requested assistance from the Clearfield Borough Police Department and Assistant Chief Nathan Curry located the victim at the turn-around alone.
When he arrived on-scene, Walker observed the victim lying along the right side of the roadway. He was reportedly visibly injured but able to get to his feet. He was also wet, dirty and missing his shoes.
Police saw that he was limping, and the victim said he was jumped by a large group who had waited for him there. Walker summoned emergency personnel to evaluate the victim’s injuries; he was later taken to Clearfield Penn Highlands for treatment.
The victim told police there were several individuals, and they’d fled into the adjourning woods and field. Walker directed borough officers to establish a perimeter and attempt to locate the suspects.
The victim said he was supposed to be there to meet a friend when suddenly people came out of the dark side of the roadway. They allegedly assaulted him, taking his wallet and shoes.
When Walker spoke with the caller, he said the victim was at the turn-around to meet a girl he “snapped” with online. He said he was to meet her behind Lowe’s, they took him there and the victim went the rest of the way on foot.
That, he said, was when people came out from the side of the roadway and started assaulting the victim. He said all he knew about the girl, which the victim was to meet, was her place of employment.
The caller’s girlfriend said she was scared and drove away quickly but another vehicle struck hers, causing damage. Walker learned the driver was from the Bigler area and had Clearfield-based state police begin to search for him.
Walker went to speak with the girl who said during school, Brown asked if she had the victim on SnapChat, which she did. She said Brown asked to borrow her phone and arranged a “fake meeting” to have the victim buy alcohol.
She said Brown set the meeting spot at the “turn-around” behind Lowe’s. She was able to provide a full name for Brown and a juvenile, and Walker made contact with the juvenile’s mother. She was able to get a hold of him and have him return home.
State police picked up the driver on a traffic stop and he was transported by a township officer to the police station. In a written statement, he said he was simply the “bait car” to get the victim out of his vehicle.
He said Brown sent him a message earlier in the day about “jumping some guy,” which he initially ignored. Later, he messaged Brown back, saying he would come check it out, and Brown told him that he would be the bait. They went to the spot together.
He said when the victim approached on foot, “the other guys” just jumped him. He said the driver of the victim’s vehicle tried to leave in a panic and struck the side of his vehicle. He said he left the area and drove to Lowe’s to check the damage.
When he returned to the scene to check on Brown, he said Brown told him to leave.
The juvenile also arrived at the station with his mother and provided a written statement on the events. He allegedly admitted to being involved and provided names of the others who were there.
He said the victim had ripped him off of money that was previously used to purchase him alcohol. He said he’d told Brown about it, and Brown told him they should meet up behind Lowe’s and get that money back.
He said Brown used the girl’s phone to arrange the meeting and wanted others to be there in case the victim would try to hurt them. He said when the victim showed up, he confronted him about the money.
He said when the victim pulled away, he got scared so he pushed and struck him before running back to his vehicle and out the other side of Industrial Park Road. This, however, was not what happened, according to Brown’s story.
On Feb. 25, Walker interviewed Brown at the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School. He said the juvenile told him several times about the victim ripping him off money for alcohol.
He said they used the girl’s phone to set up the victim, under the presumption he’d buy her alcohol. He said the juvenile made the arrangements including having the “bait car”. When the victim arrived, he said the juvenile punched and tackled him against the car.
He said the victim made numerous attempts to get away, but the group pulled him away from the vehicle and tackled him. He said at one point, the victim broke free again but was hit in the back by one juvenile with a metal rod and with nunchaku by another.
Brown said the juvenile held a silver butterfly knife to the back of the victim’s head, and made comments but he wasn’t sure what was said. He said two juveniles emptied the victim’s pockets and forced him to roll over so they could check his front pockets.
Afterwards, Brown said they all ran to a Jeep hidden in the woods. He said once they got home, they listened to the police’s response to the incident on the scanner.
Brown is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 24 during centralized court.