Handcuffed Suspect

Story by Caitlin Doornbos, courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World

A 31-year-old Eudora man was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and theft Thursday after allegedly stealing a $60 flashlight from a Lawrence Wal-Mart and threatening an employee with a knife.

Lawrence Police Department spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said officers arrested Seth Lee Smiley at his Eudora home Wednesday after loss prevention personnel at Wal-Mart, 3300 Iowa St., told officers the man left the store without paying for a flashlight valued at about $60.

When a loss prevention employee followed Smiley out of the store and asked to return inside the store, Smiley allegedly produced a pocketknife and “moved toward the employee in a threatening manner,” McKinley said.

After the alleged assault, the employee retreated inside the store, McKinley said, and Smiley left the parking lot in a vehicle.

Wal-Mart was able to record the vehicle’s license plate number, which was registered to a person in Eudora. Officers then went to that address, locating the suspect, McKinley said.

Smiley resisted arrest by Eudora police officers and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies, but the officers were able to detain him. Smiley was then taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for an evaluation, McKinley said, and was later booked into the Douglas County Jail.

Smiley had previously been banned from Wal-Mart stores for a prior crime, so his Wednesday Wal-Mart appearance resulted in the aggravated burglary charge. He has an extensive criminal history in Douglas County, according to court records, including convictions of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic battery.

He is currently being held in the Douglas County Jail on a $12,000 bond.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office refused to release Smiley’s booking photo.

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