Suspected Wal-Mart shoplifter chased down at McDonald’s in The Villages

Lee Johnston

A suspected Wal-Mart shoplifter was chased down at McDonald’s at Buffalo Ridge Plaza in The Villages.

Lee Roland Johnston, 30, of Leesburg, was carrying a backpack loaded with stolen merchandise shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday when he ran from the nearby Wal-Mart store, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

A Wildwood police officer assisted deputies in apprehending Johnston, who admitted he had thrown the backpack into the bushes. When law enforcement officers retrieved the backpack, they found the $300 in stolen merchandise inside.

Johnston, who had a can of pepper spray in his pocket, said he “screwed up” and shouldn’t have stolen the merchandise, the arrest report said. He also had drug paraphernalia in his possession.

A loss prevention officer at Wal-Mart said Johnston set off a fire alarm when he ran out of a door at the store.

Johnston had been previously trespassed from the store and was convicted in 2009 in Lake County on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Johnston was booked on multiple charges at the Sumter County Detention Center. Bond was set at $15,000.

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