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Friday, December 8, 2023

Serial shoplifter from Leesburg busted in alleged theft attempt at Walmart in The Villages

A Leesburg woman was arrested for stealing from a Walmart in The Villages and later found to be hiding drugs underneath a mattress. 

Amy Horton
Amy Leann Horton

Deputies responded to a theft complaint at Walmart at Buffalo Ridge Plaza around 12:58 p.m. Monday, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. 

The loss prevention officer provided deputies with a description matching 49-year-old Amy Leann Horton and stated she fled from the store on foot after committing a retail theft. The officer watched as she went west to a nearby pharmacy. It was there that additional deputies located Horton, the report said. 

Afterwards, the officer explained that Horton entered the store, selected numerous items and passed all points of sale. The merchandise, including $62.02 worth of food and clothing, was hidden in a gray backpack inside her shopping cart, the report said. 

Once Horton passed all points of sale, the loss prevention officer confronted her. He identified himself to her and requested that she not leave the store with the stolen items. She refused those orders and proceeded westbound on foot, prompting the officer to call law enforcement. He saw Horton discard several items along a nearby fence line at the pharmacy while doing so, the report said. 

A deputy canvassed the fence line and found what seemed to be methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe underneath a mattress. These items looked freshly placed as they did not have a weathered appearance. On top of the mattress were mashed potatoes Horton had purchased, the report said. 

The narcotics and paraphernalia were stored in a plastic Ziploc baggie. A similar pouch was also found within Horton’s backpack. It had plastic wrapping with crystal-like residue, the report said. 

Deputies tested for methamphetamine, and tests came back positive for the suspected narcotics, in the pipe and on the plastic wrapping. It was obvious the recovered methamphetamine weighed less than 14 grams, the report said. 

Deputies later learned that Horton had an active warrant for her arrest out of Lake County for violation of probation (possession of methamphetamine). A criminal history check revealed she had two prior convictions for petit retail theft, one in August 2013 and the other from August 2023. She also had a previous conviction for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia from August 2023, the report said. 

Horton was subsequently arrested on charges of petit theft (third subsequent offense), resisting arrest while committing theft, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was transported to the Sumter County Detention Center where she was booked without bond due to a hold put on her custody by Lake County. 

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