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Within 5 Hours, Two Shoplifting Incidents at Walmart Escalate Into Felonies With Assaults

| July 23, 2015

walmart shoplifting

Walmarts tend to be popular with shoplifters. (© FlaglerLive)

Walmart in Palm Coast was the scene of two separate and apparently unrelated incidents that started as shoplifting and turned into aggravated assault in one case, and grand theft auto, reckless driving and fleeing cops in another. Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest in the first case. They are still searching for the suspect in the second case.

The first case unfolded Tuesday morning, after 9 a.m. Kevin Leahy, a 56-year-old transient, had allegedly taken a shopping cart full of goods out of the store and ran off with it after using an aluminum baseball bat to threaten two store clerks. Leahy, according to a clerk, had been shopping throughout the store with two carts before going to the money center and attempt to pay with a cash card. The card’s balance had zeroed out, however. Once Leahy was told that he had no money on the card, he shifted items from one cart to another, then went to a fitting room and stuffed many items into a mountain backpack which had also been taken off the shelves.

He then walked out of the store. A clerk tried to stop him, placing her hand on the cart. In response, Leahy “picked up a [bat] that he had placed inside the new cart and swung it at her and co-worker” several times, his arrest report states. The store reported that Leahy had walked out with numerous items aside from the $50 backpack, including a bottle of melatonin, vitamins and iron, a watch, a pair of athletic shoes, a camping ax and a fixed knife, among other things, totaling roughly $300.

shoplifting walmart

Kevin leahy

A deputy saw Leahy near Sonny’s, across the parking lot from Walmart, pushing the shopping cart. Leahy immediately dropped the bat when he saw the cop and offered no resistance. He was arrested and charged with grand theft of the cart, two counts of aggravated assault, resisting a merchant, and illegal use of a shopping cart. The first three charges are felonies. He was held on $6,250 bond. It was his first arrest in Flagler. He remained at the jail Thursday.

The second incident unfolded five hours later as a white, middle-aged man left the store after attempting to take a computer and two DVD players in a shopping cart. A store theft-prevention clerk tried to stop him, so he pushed the cart aside, ran out and entered a 1996 Infiniti that then drove off the parking lot. A deputy spotted the car after arriving on scene and caught up with it near Golden Corral, the restaurant nearby. The driver, Nathan Chapman, stopped in the center turning lane of Cypress Edge Drive and exited the car, complying with the cop’s hand to show his hands and get on the ground. But as Chapman was doing so, the suspect shifted to the driver’s seat in the car and drove off.

Another deputy was just then arriving on scene and reported that “The vehicle was then observed passing two vehicles occupying the southbound lane of travel and a turn lane into the City Market Place plaza as it entered into my lane of travel (southbound) and began travelling directly at my marked agency patrol car (#5082) at a high rate of speed. I was forced off of the roadway as a result of the suspect vehicle’s maneuver. The vehicle was then observed travelling through the intersection of Cypress Point Parkway and Cypress Edge Drive with a solid red light displayed on the traffic control device. At this time I utilized my emergency lights and siren in order to safely navigate through the intersection of Cypress Point Parkway and Cypress Edge Drive and observed that the suspect vehicle was travelling recklessly as it turned north onto Cypress Branch Way. It should be noted that at no time did I actively pursue the suspect vehicle as it did not meet criteria as indicated by Flagler County Sheriff’s Office vehicle Apprehension General Order 023.”

Chapman told a deputy that he knew the suspect only by his first name, and that he’d picked him up on Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach. The suspect had asked him to drive him to Walmart so he could pick up a television, in exchange for gas money. The Infinity was reported stolen. A charging affidavit was filed against the suspect, whom the sheriff’s office is not identifying pending further results of the investigation.

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10 Responses for “Within 5 Hours, Two Shoplifting Incidents at Walmart Escalate Into Felonies With Assaults”

  1. David S says:

    I think that Walmart needs to improve their loss prevention team or at least hire an off duty sheriff to stop these thefts the more that they occur the more that we pay in merchandise.

    • Jadobi says:

      Walmart would rather take the chance of possibly losing money due to theft than having to pay for a deputy. They are truly a cheap company.

  2. Lil Buzzard Bill says:

    The homeless population in Palm Coast is more then population of Buzzard Creek, Idaho !!!!

  3. groot says:

    We call the Palm Coast Walmart, Pyscho-World. It lived up to it’s nickname on Tuesday!

    • Geezer says:

      Yes indeed – “PsychoWorld.” I can just see the sign in my mind’s eye.

      Funny story about the PC PsychoWorld: about three years ago, I went looking
      for an adult tricycle for my wife to pedal around our old neighborhood – Cypress Knolls.

      I couldn’t find one at the store, so I ordered it online (walmart dot com), and had it “shipped to store.”
      I checked the website daily until it showed up as “arrived at store.”
      That evening I went to pick up the bike and could not find a soul to help me retrieve my order.
      It seemed as though there was a shift change and employees buzzed past me, avoiding
      any eye contact with me!

      Without exaggeration, it took about 45 minutes to finally find a willing employee to retrieve my order.
      I was not pleased. Anyway, that employee summoned a young man who assisted me with
      the bike and proceeded to roll it out of the store on a “u-boat.” I was contemplating giving
      the kid (who magically appeared) a five-spot for helping me as we walked to the front.

      As we approach the door a loss-prevention associate gets in the way and demands
      a receipt from the kid helping us. (he was wearing a Walmart ID and vest)
      I said to the loss prevention associate: “Man, you people don’t even trust each other!”
      Where the hell were you when I was looking for help?!

      I said, OK – are you happy? I took the u-boat, and my purchase to customer service and was
      issued a refund on the spot. Funny – the easiest thing to do was return the damned thing.
      The helpful kid waved goodbye with a disappointed expression.
      The loss prevention guy, the Walmart dick, (detective) had vanished.

      WHAT A RIDICULOUS WAY TO RUN A STORE – treating customers and employees like thieves.
      Because Walmart has larceny in their heart – they assume that ALL the shoppers are crooks too.

      “PsychoWorld” indeed. You have to be a nut to shop or work there.
      BUT REFUNDS ARE EASY! Remember that for short-term major purchases!

  4. blondee says:

    This is why I NEVER shop there! I’ll pay a little more and shop among “normal” people.

  5. Some of us are so much better than the rest of us.

  6. Daughter of Wal-Mart says:

    David S you have no idea how many thieves that the loss prevention team catch and have arrested everyday just because it isn’t on Flagler live doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen my mom works there and they catch people all day everyday. If Wal-Mart were to hire a deputy then you would complain that it is a waste of a deputy that could be arresting serious criminals.

  7. Gia says:

    I never shop in PC, even gas is cheaper @ other county.

  8. FlaglerBear says:

    The Palm Coast WalMart is typical of WalMarts across the United States. I’ve been to a few of them. If you know what you’re looking for and how to find it, then you’re fine. If you expect an employee to help you, you’re pretty much on your own. There is apparently a culture that exists within the entire company that promotes minimal contact with customers. I’m not sure I blame the employees there. I can’t judge them. I know many WalMart customers are very difficult people with attitudes. For my part, I’d rather shop somewhere else. Can’t stand the crowds.

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