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Sheriff's deputy hurt in fight with accused shoplifter; suspect returned to store days later

2 years 2 months 1 week ago Friday, March 11 2022 Mar 11, 2022 March 11, 2022 10:14 AM March 11, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A suspected shoplifter who ended up in the hospital after fighting a sheriff's deputy went back to the same store just days later to do it all over again, and jail records say he tried to pin the crimes on his sibling. 

It all began Feb. 28 when William Wells, 34, allegedly stole over $400 worth of merchandise from the Home Depot near the intersection of Coursey Boulevard and Airline Highway. Shortly afterward, a deputy responding to the shoplifting complaint found the suspectwho matched an employee's description of the thiefat Good Morning Donuts on Airline Highway.

When the deputy tried to take that suspectlater identified as Wellsinto custody, arrest documents said he wrestled with the officer for several minutes and then took off on foot. The deputy followed Wells to a nearby apartment on Airline Highway, where the two got into another scuffle. 

The deputy eventually placed Wells into handcuffs but suffered an injury to his knee in the process. When paramedics arrived, Wells also complained he was having difficulty breathing, and both were taken to a hospital.

At the hospital, Wells falsely identified himself as his brother, though it would take several days for investigators to realize that he'd given the wrong name. Deputies issued a misdemeanor summons, bearing the name of the suspect's brother, and released him into the hospital's custody. 

The following week, on March 10, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said it responded to another shoplifting complaint at the same Home Depot. A deputy reviewed surveillance video which showed a man who appeared to be Wells.

Employees said the suspect again made his way toward Good Morning Donuts after leaving the store, and the deputy later found Wells wearing the same clothes as the thief seen on security footage.

Investigators then learned the apartment where they previously found Wells belonged to his mother and step-father. When deputies contacted the pair, they learned that Wells had been lying about his identity to law enforcement, claiming to be his brother who lived in another state.  

After he was taken into custody, deputies said Wells repeatedly slammed his head against the cage of the sheriff's office vehicle and tried to kick out the rear window of the unit. According to arrest records a deputy used pepper spray to get Wells under control.

At the jail, it was learned the suspect had previously been classified as a violent offender with a history of fighting officers. 

Wells was booked on charges of theft, resisting an officer with force and injuring public records. Other charges are pending. 

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