Homeless man arrested for stealing alcohol and pushing clerk to the ground

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Antonio Lee Watson, 33, was arrested early this morning and charged with battery, petit theft, trespass after warning, and resisting arrest after allegedly stealing alcohol from Aloha Liquor Store and pushing a clerk to the ground.

Watson allegedly entered the store at about 1:30 a.m. this morning with two backpacks and put two bottles of Seagrams, four cans of Bud Light, and a bottle of Western Son vodka into one of the backpacks.

A store employee reportedly saw him place the items in his backpack and tried to stop him as he walked out of the store without paying. Watson allegedly pushed the employee in the chest, causing him to fall to the floor. Watson was reportedly stopped by a bystander and gave the bystander the beers, then left with the other three items.

Watson reportedly walked toward the Wawa on E. University Avenue, where a Gainesville Police Department officer made contact with him; Watson allegedly ran away and was captured after a foot chase. Watson had previously been trespassed from the Wawa property.

Post Miranda, Watson reportedly said that he had returned the beers but did not offer an explanation for the other three items.

Watson, whose address is listed as GRACE Marketplace, has six felony convictions (none violent) and 16 misdemeanor convictions (two violent). He has served two state prison terms, with his most recent release in April 2022 after serving an 18-month sentence for stealing a vehicle. Bail information is unavailable on weekends.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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