CLEWISTON -- The Clewiston Police Department responded to the 777 Arcade, located at 935 West Sugarland Highway, in reference to an attempted armed robbery just before 2 a.m. on Saturday, April 15.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a male wearing a mask entered the arcade with a gun and demanded that all customers get on the ground.
Unbeknownst to the suspect, the business had an armed security guard inside. During the incident, the security guard fired a single gunshot at the suspect. No customers or employees were injured and the status of the suspect was unknown as he had fled the scene prior to officers’ arrival. During a canvass of the area, detectives located a black BB handgun believed to be used by the suspect.
Hours later, officers responded to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle at an apartment complex, located at 409 South San Pedro Street. Callers noted a male subject was slumped over the steering wheel. When officers arrived, the male subject in the vehicle fled the scene, leading officers in a vehicle pursuit. It was also determined that the vehicle had been reported stolen. After a short vehicle pursuit, officers apprehended the suspect near the Hendry County/Palm Beach County line.
The suspect, identified as 48-year-old Chad Mitchell Waldrep of Hollywood, Fla., stated that he had been shot. Officers noted a gunshot wound the suspect’s lower back and he was taken to Hendry Regional Medical Center, where he was airlifted to a trauma center. During the investigation, detectives collected additional evidence that linked Waldrep to the armed robbery.
Chief Tom Lewis praised the efforts of his officers in capturing this convicted felon and he would like to thank the community, “Calling in suspicious activity can play a critical role in preventing crime, solving crime, and saving lives. See something, say something.” Chief Lewis would also thanked Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden for his agency’s assistance. Although the robbery appears to have been an isolated incident with no additional threat to the community, the investigation related to the stolen vehicle is still on-going and more arrests are pending. No additional information is being released at this time.
According to the Clewiston Police Department after being released from the hospital, Waldrep will face felony charges that include armed robbery with a weapon and fleeing and eluding a law enforcement Officer.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Charles Williams at 863-983-1474.