Police: Man tried to steal from Walmart before leading police on chase


Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 at 1:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 25, 2014 at 1:38 p.m.

An Alachua man is facing multiple felony charges after police say he tried to shoplift more than $300 worth of goods from the Wal-Mart Supercenter off Waldo Road and, when confronted, battered a pregnant store employee before fleeing and leading officers on a high-speed chase.

John W. Johnson, 33, was arrested and charged with felony counts of grand theft, aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and fleeing/eluding police, along with misdemeanor resisting merchant detainment, in connection with the incident, which happened Thursday at 11:21 a.m.

At that time, according to the Gainesville Police Department, Johnson was spotted inside the Wal-Mart at 1800 NE 12th Ave., placing $325 worth of items in a cart and trying to push the cart toward the store exit without paying for the items. When stopped by loss prevention staff, Johnson resisted detainment, police reported, and struggled to break free from their grasp, at one point scratching a woman who is five months' pregnant. The woman had told Johnson she was pregnant during the struggle, police said.

Johnson then ran to his truck and fled the parking lot at a high speed, police said. Once on Waldo Road, three marked patrol cars began following Johnson before the pursuit ended in the 5300 block of Northeast 15th Street.

Johnson later turned himself in at GPD headquarters at 2:15 p.m. Thursday and was arrested. He was booked into the Alachua County jail, where he remained Friday in lieu of $60,000 bond.

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