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Alleged brandy burglar pleads not guilty to charges

By Avery Cropp

A 23-year-old Austin man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to stealing a $12 bottle of brandy and leading police on a foot chase through backyards.

Mayai Arob Shaben Cobai faces four criminal charges — fourth-degree assault, obstructing legal process, theft and fleeing a peace officer.

Cobai was arrested on Jan. 10 around 4 p.m. on the 300 block of Eighth Street NE after Star Liquor reported that a man had stolen a bottle of liquor.

According to Police Chief Brian Krueger, Cobai was approached by officers and led them on a foot chase around the northeast side of town. Cobai fought the arrest and spit and yelled profanities at the officers as they handcuffed and searched him. This led the officers to taze, pepper spray and restrain him in a spithood.

Krueger said that a bottle of E&J brandy, valued at $12.29, fell out of Cobai’s pocket during the arrest.

The pre-trial is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 30. The public trial is set for April 9.

Cobai, who remains in police custody, is on probation for a conviction of terroristic threats he was convicted of in October 2011.

 —Amanda Lillie contributed to this report.