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Woman allegedly hides merchandise in her purse and walks out of Walmart

A Leesburg woman was arrested for retail theft when an employee saw her conceal an item worth over $100 in her purse before leaving Walmart in Leesburg.

Kelly Ann Souders
Kelly Ann Souders

An officer responded to Walmart, located at 2501 Citrus Boulevard, around 5:56 p.m. Tuesday regarding a retail theft that occurred about an hour beforehand, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. He met with a loss prevention officer who recounted the incident. 

At 4:42 p.m., a woman matching the description of 44-year-old Kelly Ann Souders was seen in the Sporting Goods Department when the LPO saw her take a Lowrance HOOK2 fish finder valued at $112.35. She walked with it down aisle 15 of the Toy Department, the report said. 

Souders then took the item and concealed it within her purse at 4:44 p.m. and began walking toward the Garden Center. She walked through the south entrance/exit at 4:55 p.m., passing all points of sale without making an attempt at paying for the item. The LPO watched her get into a white Hyundai, and all her actions were captured on surveillance footage, the report said. 

A search of the vehicle revealed the registered owner’s address to be an apartment on 1416 Griffin Road. An officer went to the location where he found the vehicle parked in front of the residence. He approached the front door, but no one came to answer it, the report said. 

The officer then noticed Souders through the window wearing the same outfit inside of the residence. The registered owner of the vehicle answered the door, and the officer asked Souders to come outside. She was identified using her driver’s license after a query, the report said. 

The officer next told Souders that he was there because of the incident at Walmart which was captured on camera and viewed by law enforcement. She immediately asked if he wanted her to “grab it,” to which the officer stated yes. She came to the door with the stolen fish finder that was within the residence and handed it to the officer, the report said. 

Souders’ mother told the officer that Souders was afraid to initially answer the door. Souders stated she stole the item for a friend, but she later advised it was to sell and make money. The item was ultimately returned to the LPO by the officer, the report said. 

Additionally, a criminal history check revealed that Souders had one prior retail theft conviction on Oct. 16, 2023, the report said. 

Souders was subsequently arrested on charge of retail petit theft (one prior theft conviction). She was transported to Lake County Jail with bond set at $1,000. 

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