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Homeless Leesburg man arrested after allegedly stealing merchandise at Home Depot

A homeless man from Leesburg was arrested for theft after allegedly stealing merchandise from Home Depot.

William Avery Prescott
William Avery Prescott

An officer responded to a theft at Home Depot, located at 71 N. U.S. Hwy. 27/441, around 11:55 a.m. Tuesday, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. 

A loss prevention officer advised dispatch that a man, later identified as 38-year-old William Avery Prescott, wearing a yellow T-shirt, blue jeans and a black backpack was about to steal from the store. He also stated that he was going to attempt to apprehend the man at the entrance doors. However, he next told dispatch that the man ran off toward the highway, the report said. 

An officer arrived on scene and found Prescott running through the store parking lot. He was detained and placed in handcuffs. He was then positively identified by his Social Security number and found to be in possession of a bicycle, a blue and black backpack, and a gray backpack. The gray backpack contained several packets of cold sandwich meat and hotdog wieners, the report said. 

The loss prevention officer later explained that at about 11:50 a.m. while on the store floor, he observed Prescott enter the store through the main door with an open backpack. He watched Prescott walk to the cleaning aisle in the garden section and select one Dawn dish soap bottle, one Pine-Sol bottle, one Clorox bottle and one Fabuloso bottle. He placed all four items inside of a shopping cart and left the garden section, the report said. 

Prescott walked past all points of sale and left the store through the main entrance doors, depriving Home Depot of their property totaling $30.81. Once outside of the store, he was approached by the loss prevention officer who showed his credentials. He asked Prescott for the concealed items belonging to the store, and he complied, the report said. 

As the loss prevention officer walked Prescott to his office, he took off running toward the highway. The officer then called back and notified law enforcement, the report said. 

Prescott was read his rights by a LLPD officer, after which he admitted to stealing the merchandise from Home Depot. He stated, “Someone needed something, and I needed money.” He then changed his statement to say that he stole from Home Depot because he needed stuff to clean himself due to him being homeless and dirty, the report said. 

Additionally, Prescott admitted to stealing sandwich meat from Winn-Dixie, located at La Plaza Grande. Contact was made with the Winn-Dixie manager over the phone, but she declined prosecution, the report said. 

Prescott was subsequently arrested on charge of petit theft and transported to Lake County Jail. Bond was set at $5,000.

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