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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Walmart thief charged with stabbing man at homeless camp in Leesburg

Jonathan Russell Peabody
Jonathan Russell Peabody

A man jailed last year for stealing from Walmart while wearing stolen boots is accused of stabbing a man at a homeless camp.

Jonathan Russell Peabody, 31, was arrested Monday and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident, which happened in a wooded area within the Leesburg city limits. Additional charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and resisting arrest without violence were added at the time of the arrest.

The victim told a Leesburg police officer that Peabody arrived at the location where the victim lives, approached a woman who lives nearby in the camp and started an argument with her. He said he told Peabody to leave the woman alone, according to the police report.

The victim said Peabody became hostile and approached him in an aggressive manner. The victim said he didn’t see a weapon but quickly realized he had been stabbed in the left thumb with a machete. He said Peabody quickly left the area, heading southbound on foot, the report said.

The woman Peabody argued with told the officer she knows Peabody by the name “JP” and that he arrived to give her batteries she had agreed to pay for. She said Peabody didn’t have the batteries but still requested a cash payment. The witness said Peabody became verbally hostile towards her and the victim told him to leave her alone, according to the report.

The witness said Peabody aggressively approached the victim with a bag and a machete in his hand. She said Peabody was leaning over the victim in a chair becoming verbally argumentative before he left on foot with the items in his hand. The victim described Peabody as a white male, 25 to 30 years old, 5-foot-1 to 5-foot-3 with a thin build, wearing a black shirt and yellow shorts. Officers searched the area and couldn’t find anyone resembling that description, the report said.

Dispatch conducted an in-house query of the nickname “JP” and informed officers of a potential name, Jonathan Peabody. Officers with prior contact with Peabody confirmed that he frequented homeless camps. The victim immediately recognized Peabody in a photo lineup, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to the report.

Peabody was taken into custody at around 2:30 p.m. Monday on McCormack Street in Leesburg. He’s being held in the Lake County Jail on $13,000 bond and will appear in Lake County Court on May 31 on the aggravated battery charge and June 6 on the drug and resisting charges.

Last June, Peabody was arrested at the Leesburg Walmart after he was spotted wearing stolen work boots and carrying a garbage can full of merchandise out of the store.

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