A shoplifting suspect who allegedly stole soup and crackers was apprehended when his bicycle crashed into a police car.
The chase began Thursday afternoon at the Family Discount Market at 2201 Griffin Road in Leesburg shortly after law enforcement had been dispatched to the store to investigate a shoplifting complaint, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.
The store’s manager told police that a man sitting on the sidewalk had been observed on video taking a can of soup and a package of crackers from the store the previous day. The food items were valued at $2.67.
When the officers approached the suspect, later identified as 54-year-old Wayne Watkins, he jumped on his bicycle and pedaled away. One officer tried to chase him down on foot while the other ran to his patrol car. The suspect got away from the officer who was on foot, but was soon seen by the officer in the patrol car. That officer drove next to Watkins, rolled down his window and ordered Watkins to stop.
Watkins ignored the order and continued riding into a parking lot. As the officer pulled into that lot, Watkins veered around another car that was leaving the parking lot and his bicycle crashed into the police car.
After being checked out by EMS personnel, Watkins was arrested on a charge of theft, elevated to a felony due to 10 previous theft convictions. He was also charged with resisting arrest. He was booked at the Lake County Jail on $3,000 bond.