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Second man charged with beating Tooele gas station clerk

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FILE - A second adult has been charged and an arrest warrant issued for a man in connection with the beating of a Tooele gas station clerk during a beer robbery, according to court documents.
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TOOELE — An arrest warrant has been issued charging a second man with beating a Tooele gas station clerk during a beer robbery.

Suliasi Niulala Vakalahi, 24, of Bountiful, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; aggravated assault resulting in serious injury, a second-degree felony; and theft, a class B misdemeanor.

The charges are identical to those filed last week against Helaman Tuakalau Makalio, 25, of Taylorsville.

On Aug. 15, Vakalahi, Makalio and a juvenile went into a Maverik store, 246 E. 2000 North in Tooele, and took beer without paying for it, according to charging documents. The clerk went outside to try and get the license plate number of the alleged thieves. That's when "two of the individuals came back and punched the clerk several times, breaking the victim’s nose and breaking and knocking out several of the victim’s teeth," charging documents state.

The group drove off, but a witness followed them to a nearby house and called police, the charges state. Some of the group went into the house while the others drove off.

Police obtained a search warrant for the house. Inside, the juvenile's mother identified her son, Vakalahi and Makalio for investigators, the charges state.

Makalio turned himself over to police later that afternoon and told detectives he and the others were "drinking beer and ran out of beer and decided that they would go take some from Maverik. He indicated that they went and removed the beer from the store and that the clerk had tried to stop them," according to the charges.

The search for Vakalahi continued Thursday. Family members claim he fled to Alabama. Court documents do not indicate whether the juvenile was also charged.