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Friday, September 17, 2021

Ocklawaha man arrested after stealing Confederate flag, customized tables from local business

A 66-year-old Ocklawaha man, who was identified by witnesses through video surveillance and Facebook, was arrested after allegedly stealing customized tables and a Confederate flag from a local pub.

On Friday, September 10, a deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported theft at Fire Rock Irish Pub, which is located at 18750 SR 40 in Silver Springs.

The owner of the business provided video surveillance showing that on Thursday, two custom, high top tables valued at $840 and a Confederate flag were stolen from an outdoor billiards area on the property.

In the video, a man is observed driving up to the business in an early 1990s GMC truck, jumping over a concrete wall, and entering the billiards room. The video then shows the man removing two high-top, round tables and a large, Confederate flag that was hanging near the front entrance of the business. The man places the items in his vehicle before leaving the parking lot and traveling eastbound on S.R. 40, according to the report.

Multiple witnesses at the pub and a nearby gas station recognized the man in the video surveillance due to his “thin build, glasses, long hair, receding hairline, and by the way he walks.”

Although Witnesses were only able to identify the man in the video as “Van,” the deputy searched through county records and found a traffic citation issued to 66-year-old Van Edwards earlier this year. The deputy searched that name on Facebook and, upon discovering Edwards’ profile, shared photos with witnesses who confirmed his identity.

Ocklawaha man arrested after stealing Confederate flag customized tables from local business
Van Edwards

The deputy traveled to Edwards’ address and, upon arrival, saw the two high top tables from the video within plain view.

When questioned, Edwards stated the tables had been in his possession for “years,” according to the report. A check of the tables revealed they had the same serial number as two other tables located at the pub.

The business owner later confirmed the tables were those stolen from the billiards room.

Edwards was arrested and transported to the Marion County Jail on Wednesday, September 15. He was charged with grand theft and burglary and his bond was set at $5,000. He was released after posting bond on September 16.