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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Police taser halts would-be shoplifter at Leesburg Walmart

Ronald Bertram Woods
Ronald Bertram Woods

An accused shoplifter was stopped by a police officer’s taser while trying to flee the Leesburg Walmart with almost $200 worth of merchandise he didn’t pay for.

Ronald Bertram Woods, 63, of Leesburg, was charged with retail theft (two or more prior thefts), trespass after warning, and resisting arrest (obstructing without violence) after the incident, which happened Sunday morning at the store at 2501 Citrus Blvd.

Officers responded to the store at around 7:38 a.m. and spoke with a loss-prevention employee who said a man later identified as Woods came in with a black backpack and put multiple clothing items in it, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.

The employee said Woods selected a pair of shorts and put them on over the pants he was wearing after ripping off the tag. Woods then walked to the shoe department, where he placed his shoes in the backpack and put on a new pair. He then opened a pack of white tank top shirts and put one on underneath the shirt he had on, the report said.

After Woods put on the tank top, officers arrived to meet with the employee and find him. Woods took off with the merchandise, which was valued at $196.79, and the officers pursued him on foot through the store until he approached the exit, according to the report.

One of the officers gave commands to stop and a warning, but Woods continued running. The officer then successfully deployed his taser, which struck Woods on the lower back and rear upper left leg. Woods fell to the ground and was arrested, the report said.

Woods told the officers, “I didn’t steal anything. I was just trying on the clothes.” However, he was still wearing the shoes and tank top at the time of his arrest. He was treated by medical personnel before being taken to the Leesburg police station for booking, according to the report.

A criminal history search revealed Woods was trespassed from the store in January 2017, and he had two prior petit theft convictions from May 2015 in Lake County and March 2020 in Sumter County. There was one charge of theft by receiving stolen property in December 1993 in Richmond County, Ga., and Woods was also arrested for stealing wings and a corn dog from that same Walmart in August 2021.

Woods was transported to the Lake County Jail, where his bond was set at $3,500.

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