Shoes-for-boots swap at Ocala Wal-Mart lands Fort McCoy woman behind bars

A Fort McCoy woman riding in a motorized wheelchair at an Ocala Wal-Mart was jailed late Monday night after being accused of swapping out her shoes for a new pair of boots.

Nicole Marie Smart, 37, of Fort McCoy, was arrested Monday night at Wal-Mart at 4980 E Silver Springs Blvd. and charged with retail petit theft, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

An Ocala Police officer was called to the store, located at 4980 E Silver Springs Blvd., and when he arrived, a loss prevention officer showed him surveillance video of the woman, later identified as 37-year-old Nicole Marie Smart, selecting boots from a shelf and putting them on after she had removed her shoes, a police report states.

The surveillance video then showed Smart leave the store without paying for the boots, which were valued at $21.38. She immediately was confronted by the loss prevention officer, who said he witnessed the crime taking place, and escorted to his office, the report says.

The officer spoke with Smart, who was balling up an empty gum package in her hand. She claimed that she has health issues and forgot she placed the boots – with the price tag removed – on her feet before leaving the store. The officer asked Smart if she had the money to pay for the boots and she said she did, the report says.

Smart also told the officer that she didn’t have any illegal narcotics or stolen merchandise in bags she was carrying and invited him to check them out. He started by examining the wadded-up empty gum package and found a clear bag that contained a clear crystal substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, the report says.

Smart denied knowing methamphetamine was in the package and claimed all she had in her hand was garbage. The officer then placed her in handcuffs and a short time later found a clear glass smoking pipe with residue, the report says.

After a criminal history check revealed that Smart had two previous theft convictions in 2016, she was transported to the Marion County Jail and charged with retail petit theft, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was being held on $4,000 bond and is due in court on Sept. 24 at 9 a.m.