Volusia County, FL-A man who tried to shoplift at Wal-Mart in Deltona Monday night is behind bars after deputies say he confronted a store loss prevention officer with a knife. The store is at 101 Howland Boulevard.
VCSO spokesman Andrew Gant says 46-year-old Thomas Rice took off in an SUV after that incident around 7 PM, crashed his vehicle and then jumped into a creek trying to get away from deputies.
The loss prevention officer told deputies that Rice, when confronted outside the door to the store, said “Get back or I’ll stab you.” He got into his vehicle to drive away and the officer reached into the vehicle, grabbed one of the stolen items-a baseball bat-and used it to hit the side door of the SUV.
A deputy spotted Rice on S.R. 414 and turned around to follow and try to make a traffic stop. Two deputies followed the vehicle down a dirt road where Rice crashed and then tried to run away.
Gant says a deputy released K-9 Axe to chase Rice as he tried to cross a creek. Axe was able to grab Rice by the leg. The deputy saw Rice trying to dig something into the dog’s head that turned out to be keys. Shortly after that, Rice was taken into custody.
Axe was bleeding from the head and treated at DeLand Animal Hospital. Rice was treated at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial for injuries. Deputies found 41 items with price tags still on them in his vehicle. The value totaled $812.83.
Rice is charged with counts including armed robbery and an offense against a police dog.
(K-9 Axe, photo courtesy VCSO)
(K-9 Axe and his handler, Deputy Walter. Photo Courtesy VCSO)
Rice VCBJ booking photo
Wal-Mart photo credit Shutterstock.com/Trekandshoot