METHUEN, Mass. — James Egal was hoping to make off with a pocketful of cash when he attempted to hold up Reynaldo Cepada inside a Walmart on Friday, police said.

What he got instead was a can of soup — right between the eyes.

“The victim did an exceptional job of defending himself,” Methuen police Lt. Michael Pappalardo said of Cepada’s response after Egal allegedly approached him and demanded the proceeds from the check he had just cashed at the Pleasant Valley Street store.

Egal initially asked Cepada to step outside the Walmart, Pappalardo said.

When Cepada declined, Egal punched him in the face and reached into his pocket to grab the cash, Pappalardo said.

“At which point, the victim picked up a can of soup, which he threw, ultimately striking the suspect in the forehead,” Pappalardo said, reading from the incident report.

The fight then spilled outside. State police Trooper Todd Silverio, who was off duty, blocked Egal’s attempt to escape and held him until Methuen police arrived, Pappalardo said.

Egal, 28, of Dover, N.H., had a significant amount of blood on his face and clothing, Pappalardo said.

He was taken to Holy Family Hospital for treatment, then moved to the Middleton jail, where he is being held on $2,500 bail.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Lawrence District Court.

Cepada, 29, of Methuen, was not seriously injured in the struggle, suffering only a minor cut on his face.

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