OKEECHOBEE — A Walmart associate was reportedly assaulted when a man accused of shoplifting pushed him as he fled the scene. Jack Jernigan, 39, Northeast Eighth Way, was arrested by Okeechobee Police Officer Savannah Smith and charged with assault and battery on a person 65 years old or older on Saturday, May 11.
Officer Smith responded to a call at approximately 7:15 p.m. on May 9 in reference to a trespass complaint. Prior to her arrival, she was notified that the incident had escalated, and the suspect had fled. When she arrived, she spoke with Asset Protection Manager Joyce Teich, who told her the suspect had been waiting for the arrival of law enforcement in Ms. Teich’s office after he was caught trying to shoplift. At that time, they were just going to have him trespassed from the property, but suddenly, Jernigan jumped up and pushed her employee into a wall and caused him to hit a cabinet. He then ran out and left in a vehicle, she said.
The vehicle was described as an older model, white Chevrolet, HHR model with white stickers on the rear window. A search for vehicles matching that description in Okeechobee County was made using the DAVID system, and this led them to Jernigan. His bond was set at $2,500.