Homeless man accused of trying to swipe shorts from Kohl’s

Howard Derrick Shook

A homeless man from Belleview reportedly walked into a store, tried on three pairs of shorts and attempted to walk out of the business wearing one of the pairs without paying for it.

Howard Derrick Shook, 58, was charged with retail theft after the incident, which happened Sunday afternoon at the Kohl’s located at 492 N. U.S. Hwy. 441 in Lady Lake.

A store employee told a Lady Lake Police officer that Shook took two pairs of black shorts and one pair of tan shorts into a fitting room, then emerged with only one pair of black shorts and one pair of tan shorts and placed them back on the rack, according to the police report.

The employee checked the fitting room and it was empty of any merchandise. Shook then headed to the front of the store, passed all points of sale without paying, and exited. The incident was observed by the employee on closed-circuit video, the report said.

Officers detained Shook, who matched the description provided by the employee, as he left the store. He was escorted back into the store and read his rights, after which he gave verbal permission for his person and belongings to be searched. Upon being patted down, it was noted that Shook had on two pairs of shorts, one of which was the black pair with the Kohl’s tag still attached in the amount of $22.99, according to the report.

Shook’s criminal history shows a previous conviction for grand theft in Marion County in 2018 and another one in Spartanburg County, S.C., in 2013. While being taken to the Lake County Jail, Shook said he was sorry for stealing the shorts. He said he didn’t need them in the first place, but he just wanted another pair to wear, the report said.

Shook was being held on $2,000 bond and will appear in Lake County Court on Oct. 21.