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Scuffle, theft lead to charges

Report: Deputy bitten

POSTED: November 30, 2011 4:00 a.m.
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Strickland

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A 26-year-old Gainesville man faces several felony charges after an alleged shoplifting scheme went awry in the early hours of post-Thanksgiving shopping.

Authorities said Steven Strickland was arrested after he reportedly tried to sneak a laptop computer out of the crowded local Walmart about midnight Thursday.

"He pushed past one of Walmart's loss prevention officers and tried to run out of the store," said Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten, who was on patrol at the store during the incident.

Officers wrestled Strickland to the ground and took him into custody.

Strickland, who is being held without bond, has been charged with felony theft by shoplifting and felony possession of cocaine.

Other charges include possession of dangerous drugs, possession of a drug-related object and drugs not in original container.

In addition, Strickland was charged with obstruction after he reportedly bit a sheriff's deputy who attempted to keep him from ingesting suspected drugs.

The deputy received a tetanus shot, Wooten said.

According to Wooten, Strickland had attempted to conceal the laptop computer inside a piece of luggage.

He then placed the bag onto a cart being used by people he knew who were shopping at the store.

"We don't believe they had any knowledge of what he was doing," Wooten said.

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