Man used 2-year-old to prevent officer from arresting him, Melbourne police say

Cops say man was attempting to shoplift $500 worth of items from Home Depot


BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County man used his 2-year-old child to shield himself from an officer trying to arrest him on shoplifting charges, according to a report.

Edward L. Smathers Jr., 39, has been charged with grand theft, aggravated child neglect, resisting an officer and probation violation in the Sunday afternoon incident.

Melbourne police say Smathers took $500 worth of items from Home Depot on Wickham Road, put them down the front of his pants and walked out of the store without paying.

When Smathers was confronted by an officer, police say he tried to push past the officer and go back to his vehicle. According to the report, as the officer was attempting to arrest Smathers, Smathers picked up his 2-year-old child from the backseat to prevent the officer from putting him under arrest.

Samthers was then arrested and later said that he was using his son to prevent the officer from arresting him.