A man suspected of exposing himself to Walmart employees in October led more than 10 Madison and Morgan County law enforcement officers on a brief foot chase after he returned to the retail store last Thursday, Jan. 5.
Albert Frank Thomas, 57, Sparta, was eventually arrested after being chased by law enforcement across the Walmart parking lot, across Eatonton Road, across the Madison bypass and into a flooded retainment pond next to the by-pass.
Reports state during the chase around 2:50 p.m., Madison Police Officer Emily Eaton scuffled with Thomas while behind the Harbor Freight store. Eaton reported that she observed Thomas running across the Harbor Freight parking lot and ordered him to stop several times. She then chased Thomas on foot and when she caught him behind the store, the two were in a mud and gravel area and Eaton lost her footing during the scuffle and struck her head on the gravel.
Thomas then fled into a storm drain behind the store before wading into a pond on the other side of the bypass.
At this time, according to Det. Andre Johnson, Madison Police Department, more than 10 law enforcement officers had descended onto the area. Thomas, while standing thigh high in the water of the pond, allegedly told the officers he had a knife and was “gonna stick one of y’all” and that officers would have to “kill him” to get him out of the pond.
Johnson said officers attempted and eventually reasoned with Thomas who walked out of the pond and was arrested. Johnson said Thomas did not have a knife on his person.
The chase began when a Walmart employee alleged that Thomas was the same man that on Oct. 28 between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. exposed his genitals to a Walmart employee at the pharmacy area. The incident was captured on the store’s in-store video surveillance system, reports state.
Last Thursday, a Walmart asset protection employee contacted Madison police and alleged that Thomas had returned to the store. The asset employee told police that she wanted Thomas criminally trespassed from the store.
However, reports state, when an officer arrived, Thomas fled. Thomas was charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement officer and was transported to the Morgan County Detention Center.
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