A Leesburg man was charged with criminal mischief after police caught him drawing graffiti on an electrical box in a Walmart parking lot.
At around 8:36 p.m. Sunday, an officer spotted 38-year-old Robert Wesley Allen looking inside a donation bin in the parking lot of the store, located at 2501 Citrus Blvd. Upon seeing the officer, Allen took off and started running towards the other end of the lot. Due to the time of night and odd behavior, the officer responded by turning her vehicle around and commanding Allen to stop, according to an arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department.
As the officer approached, Allen kept repeating, “please don’t take me to jail,” and said he ran because law enforcement frightens him. He was sweating profusely and speaking rapidly with pinpoint pupils, the report said.
Allen said his bike was behind the donation bin, and he was going to retrieve it. He also said he didn’t have anything on him, telling the officer she “could check.” Upon taking items out of his pocket, the officer found a gold paint marker that appeared to be recently used due to the distinct paint smell, according to the report.
Upon looking inside the donation bin, the officer saw several bags of women’s and men’s clothes and shoes scattered across the grass. The report noted some of these items were new based on the tags still being attached. A long stick was propped up in the donation bin as well, keeping the door open and appearing to be used to retrieve items from inside the bin, the report said.
A green City of Leesburg electrical box is located directly next to the donation bin, and the officer noticed fresh, still drying graffiti that matched the color and size of the paint marker found in Allen’s pocket. Allen spontaneously said he drew it and was sorry. The report noted Allen’s bike displayed a similar medium and design as the graffiti on the electrical box, according to the report.
The damage done to the box was reported to cost about $50 in repair, the report said. A check revealed that Allen had two prior guilty convictions for criminal mischief from August 2008 in Pinellas County and December 2018 in Lake County.
Allen was then placed under arrest for criminal mischief under $200 (subsequent offense). He was transported to the Lake County Jail, and during the ride he made several comments about being arrested by a female officer again. He informed the officer that she should “let him out” of the car and her status as an officer would not be affected. His bond was set at $1,000.