FCSO Arrests Ex-con for Stealing Walmart Register

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Former Convict Found with Clothing Worn During Robbery Still in Vehicle

At the end of last year, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office posted an image of an unidentified man who had stolen a cash register from Walmart in Palm Coast on December 10, then brazenly ran out of the store. Thanks to the combined efforts of Flager County Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit, FCSO’s Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) and some social media sleuthing, the criminal, identified as John Michael Wakefield, 43, of Wellington, FL is now behind bars.

During the hasty theft, Wakefield was confronted by an employee, who he shoved out of the way and fled the store. This aggressive act led to the case being initially investigated as a commercial robbery. The suspect was documented wearing a distinct red “Key West” T-shirt during the theft and was seen by witnesses fleeing in a gray Hyundai SUV, which detectives determined was a rental car.

 

FCSO’s Major Case Unit responded to the scene and began their criminal investigation. Through facial recognition, FCSO’s RTCC identified the likely suspect as Wakefield, a convicted felon who had been released from prison in 2021 after serving approximately 10 years for armed robbery. Detectives were able to obtain a warrant for his arrest for Unarmed Burglary of an Occupied Structure and Grand Theft from Building ($750–$5,000).

 

With assistance from the RTCC, Major Case Unit detectives tracked the suspect to a location in North Carolina, and later back to Central Florida. An analyst with the RTCC found a photo on Wakefield’s social media profile where he’s seen wearing the same clothing as he was wearing when the Walmart theft was committed.  The Major Case Unit and the Problem Area Crime Enforcement Unit (PACE), utilized the assistance of our community partners to determine the suspect was in the Orlando, FL area. Once an exact location was determined, the Florida Highway Patrol’s Troop D Criminal Interdiction Unit was able to apprehend Wakefield on the Florida Turnpike’s Turkey Lake Service Plaza in Ocoee, FL, without incident.

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Inside Wakefield’s vehicle was the shirt and chain he wore during the Palm Coast theft. Wakefield was also in Possession of Methamphetamines, a ski mask, and a realistic looking airsoft pellet gun.

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“This dirtbag made the mistake of coming to Flagler County to commit his crime not knowing we have extensive technology, and an amazing RTCC and investigative team,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “He didn’t learn from his previous time behind bars and hopefully the courts will send him back to prison. I commend our investigative team, our Real Time Crime Center team, and the Florida Highway Patrol for bringing him to justice and ending his crime spree.”

Wakefield has an extensive criminal history, including Narcotics with Trafficking, Narcotics Possession, Grant Theft, and Robbery. He is currently being held in the Orange County Corrections Facility on local charges, and a hold has been placed for Flagler County. Once transferred to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility, he will be held on a $60,000 bond.

By Flagler County Buzz

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