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Denise Lockwood
Owner of the Racine County Eye

A machete-wielding armed robber evaded police for one day before he was captured last week and charged with a felony count that could land him in prison for 40 years.

Matthew J. Harris, 40, Milwaukee, was arrested April 10 after he allegedly robbed the Better Day gas station, 2100 Douglas Ave., Racine.

In addition to the 40-year prison term, Harris, who is charged as a repeat offender, faces a fine of $100,000. The repeat-offender attachment could add six years to a potential prison term.

Court records indicate that Harris has a previous armed robbery conviction in Milwaukee in 2010, a misdemeanor substantial battery conviction in Milwaukee in 2009 and two misdemeanor convictions in Arizona in 2000 and 2001 for assault and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the criminal complaint:
Police met with the gas station clerk, who stated the defendant approached her and demanded money. When another employee displayed a baton, Harris allegedly pulled a machete from his pants. The clerk opened the register, and Harris took approximately $500. Before he left, he told the employees, “Nothing personal. I’m in a bad spot right now.”

Harris left the station in a gold Santa Fe, the complaint states.

The following day, an officer saw the vehicle with the suspect inside. After a traffic stop, police found a machete-style knife between the driver’s seat and the console.

Harris will be back in Racine County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing April 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Read more stories by the Racine County Eye:

Waterford woman and South Milwaukee woman face drug charges

Man faces 30-years in prison for cocaine sales to undercover informant

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Denise Lockwood

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.