PALM COAST, Fla. - The Flagler County Sheriff's Office announced on Friday that it had arrested a man suspected of stealing a cash register from the Walmart on Cypress Point Pkwy. 43-year-old John M. Wakefield was nabbed after a month-long search and public notice.
The alleged crime happened on December 10th, when Wakefield is accused of grabbing a cash register from Walmart and "brazenly out of the store", in the words of a FCSO spokesman. A still from the store's surveillance cameras caught the face of the suspect in relatively clear resolution. He had what appeared to be a register tucked under his arm while wearing a red long-sleeve t-shirt with 'Key West' written across the chest.
Wakefield is also accused of shoving a Walmart employee out of the way as he made his escape as the employee confronted him. He was reportedly seen getting into a gray Hyundai SUV as he left, which detectives came to the conclusion was a rental car.
The day after the robbery, the FCSO posted the surveillance still to social media and asked for public assistance in identifying the suspect. The FCSO’s Major Case Unit, who responded to the scene im mediately after the incident, used facial recognition technology at the Real Time Crime Center to identify Wakefield as a likely match.
Prior to this incident Wakefield served ten years in prison for armed robbery, being released in 2021. He was charged with unarmed burglary of an occupied structure and grand theft, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Wakefield’s location was pinpointed to North Carolina, and he was later tracked returning to Central Florida soon thereafter. The red t-shirt in the surveillance footage was reportedly then seen on one of Wakefield’s social media pictures, further strengthening detectives’ suspicions that he was their man.
Florida Highway Patrol ultimately arrested Wakefield in Ocoee after he was tracked to the Orlando area, and he was subsequently booked into the Orange County Jail. He was reportedly also found with methamphetamine, a ski mask, a realistic-looking airsoft gun, and several items of clothing seen in the surveillance footage. He is awaiting transfer to jail in Flagler County, where he will be held on $60,000 bond.