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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Ocala man charged in Walmart shoplifting spree

Edgardo Gonzalez Cruz

An Ocala man is accused of stealing from Walmart multiple times over the course of several months.

Edgardo Gonzalez Cruz, 51, of 7267 SW 128th St., was charged with nine counts of second-degree petit theft (first offense) in connection with the thefts, which started in November 2020 and continued through his arrest March 10 at the Walmart Supercenter at 9570 SW Hwy. 200.

A store security employee told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy that Cruz made no effort to scan several items, used a fraudulent UPC code to obtain other items, placed them in bags and back into the shopping cart before passing all points of sale without paying as he left the store.

The employee said Cruz was originally stopped on Jan. 2 after he used a fraudulent UPC code for several items. He was not charged due to the dollar amount being below Walmart’s prosecution threshold. The employee said after using the store’s secure system and electronic journals, Cruz committed nine additional thefts between November 2020 and January 2021, according to the sheriff’s office report.

During these transactions, Cruz concealed several items inside Walmart bags, failed to properly scan the items during the self-checkout process and left the store, passing all points of sale with unscanned items, the report said.

The deputy observed store video of one incident, on Nov. 23, 2020, in which Cruz failed to scan six items for a store loss of $29.79. The video shows Cruz placing a 50-foot extension cord on the counter, failing to scan it, and then putting it into a bag. Cruz also was observed failing to scan two cans of potato chip dip and a box of Ziploc bags and leaving the store without paying for the items, according to the report.

The deputy went to Cruz’s residence and showed him a picture of himself from the surveillance video. Using his phone as a translator, Cruz confirmed it was him in the photo and said, “I failed and I want to pay what I have to pay,” the report said.

Cruz was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he was released March 11 on $4,500 bond. No court information was available.