Ocala man with history of theft accused of shoplifting at Wal-Mart

John Edward McAllister

A 53-year-old Ocala man with a lengthy criminal record is in back behind bars after being arrested Tuesday for allegedly trying to steal nearly $200 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart.

John Edward McAllister, of 320 NW 1st Ave., was charged with second-degree petit theft (third or subsequent offense). Marion County Jail records show he has 18 prior arrests since 1994, including many for theft or burglary.

A loss-prevention employee at the store, located at 34 Bahia Ave., told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy she observed a man, later identified as McAllister, take a pair of shoes and place them in his waistband in the back of his pants and cover them with his coat. McAllister then passed all points of sale and walked out of the store. When another employee tried to stop him, McAllister said he didn’t have to talk with her and continued to the parking lot, according to the sheriff’s office report.

While McAllister was walking out the grocery exit, the deputy walked out of the other exit and followed him into the parking lot. The deputy saw McAllister was wearing a coat that had an unnatural bulge in the back. As the deputy approached him, McAllister started removing items from his coat and throwing them on the ground, the report said.

The items included two pairs of shoes valued at $44, a holiday shirt valued at $30, and a pair of sweatpants worth $15.The deputy detained McAllister, who said the items were already on the ground and he didn’t steal them. During a pat-down, the deputy located a $24 watch in his pants pocked, and he was wearing an $85 pair of boots that were also reported stolen, according to the report.

McAllister remains in jail on $2,000 bond and will appear in Marion County Court on Dec. 17.