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Leesburg man arrested after driving home on stolen Walmart ride-on cart

A Leesburg man was arrested for stealing a Walmart ride-on cart after on off-duty employee spotted him driving it near a Circle K.

Vatche Garabed
Vatche Garabed

Police responded to a theft complaint at the Walmart on 2501 Citrus Boulevard at about 8:22 p.m. Saturday, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. Upon arrival, the officer spoke to an asset protection associate. 

The associate advised that at about 8:20 p.m., he received a call from an off-duty Walmart employee at Circle K, located at 2211 Citrus Blvd. The employee saw 57-year-old Vatche Garabed, who he was familiar with, riding away from the store on a battery powered ride-on cart, the report said. 

While reviewing surveillance footage, the associate observed Garabed with an Amigo Mobility International, Inc., brand cart at one of the self-checkout registers. He immediately identified Garabed from previous thefts, further advising he was previously trespassed from the store on April 16, 2022. After checking out, Garabed left the property on the cart and headed southbound toward Circle K, the report said. 

During the investigation, a K-9 unit found Garabed with the $1,325 cart in front of his home at 1718 Indian Trail, the report said. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was contacted to assist because of the address being in Lake County jurisdiction, and two deputies responded to assist with taking Garabed into custody.  

At that time, Garabed alleged he had permission to enter Walmart and take the ride-on cart from the associates that helped him at the register. However, both associates denied giving him permission to do so, the report said. 

The native Syrian was ultimately arrested on charges of grand theft ($750 to $5,000) and trespass after warning. He was transported to the Lake County Jail with bond set at $2,500.  

Garabed was arrested in 2021 for having multiple suspensions on his license and in 2022 for stealing a file containing a copy of his neighbor’s license.

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