A 19-year-old homeless man was arrested after he reportedly stole a hose from outside a Leesburg sports bar and took it to the homeless camp where he was staying.
Edward Robert Hale was charged with petit theft and trespass after warning in connection with the theft, which happened early Tuesday at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, located at 27405 U.S. Hwy. 27 #109 in Leesburg.
An officer responded to the restaurant Tuesday afternoon and spoke with the manager, who said she saw a red heat resistance hose missing from the back door of the building’s exterior, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.
The manager checked surveillance footage and saw a man matching Hale’s description ride his bicycle to the back door, take the hose from off the wall, and then head southbound in the parking lot, the report said.
The manager said Hale had been trespassed before for taking items. She said he was told by management to not return, and no charges were pursued at that time. A search of police records confirmed Hale was trespassed from the property but refused to sign the trespass warning on the morning of May 10, according to the report.
It was known to the officer that multiple homeless camps border the south side of the plaza where the restaurant is located, leading him and several other officers to walk in the wooded area for about 30 minutes. Once they arrived at the southwest side bordering the plaza, the officers smelled a fresh fire near white tents. Hale was there trying to put out the fire in the same clothes he was wearing in the surveillance footage, the report said.
Officers detained Hale, who said he knew this was going to happen and that the hose was in the retention pond bordering the plaza. While Hale was being escorted to a patrol vehicle, the red hose was found attached to another black hose leading to the camp where he was living, according to the report.
Hale was transported to the Lake County Jail and released after posting $1,500 bond.