A 27-year-old Ocala man was arrested after stealing a woman’s wallet in a Winn Dixie parking lot and running into the nearby woods.
On Monday, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived at the Winn Dixie located at 184 Marion Oaks Boulevard in Ocala in reference to a robbery.
A female victim told the deputy that Willie Thomas snatched her wallet and ran into the woods.
The victim stated that she knew Thomas, and she had picked him up the day before at an Ocala Waffle House. She drove with him to Gainesville, and he later requested to be dropped off in front of the Winn Dixie in Marion Oaks.
As the victim pulled into the parking lot, she stated that Thomas wanted to give her a hug. When she started to initiate a hug, he grabbed her wallet from the purse that was resting between her legs on the driver’s side floorboard.
She attempted to grab the wallet back, and Thomas allegedly bit her on the hand, exited the vehicle, and ran into the woods.
A deputy canvassed the area in a patrol car and located a man matching Thomas’ description walking along the road. Upon seeing the patrol car, Thomas ran toward a residence on SW 43rd Court.
Thomas attempted to hide behind a parked car but the deputy located and apprehended him.
The victim’s wallet was later found in the woods, and it was next to Thomas’ wallet which contained a pay stub with his name on it. A little over $100 in cash was also found on the ground next to the wallets.
Thomas admitted to snatching the victim’s wallet, but he claimed that she had his identification card and would not return it to him. He denied biting her hand, and he also denied stealing any money.
When asked why he ran when he saw the patrol car, he stated that he was nervous.
Thomas was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he faces a felony charge for robbery.
He was released on bond and a court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.