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Police: Man wanted for grand theft caught

Edward Lavern Smith is wanted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on burglary and grand theft charges.
Edward Lavern Smith is wanted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on burglary and grand theft charges.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 55-year-old man wanted by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on burglary and grand theft charges in connection with wallet thefts from medical and dental offices has been arrested.

Edward Lavern Smith was wanted on an $800,000 bond on six counts of burglary, six counts of grand theft, five counts of criminal use of personal identification information, six counts of credit card fraud and six counts of schemes to defraud.

Police said that about 9 a.m. Monday, an alert citizen saw Smith and flagged down a police officer driving by. When the officer contacted Smith, he fled on foot but was caught after a short chase.

Police said Smith is accused of targeting dental and medical offices in the Jacksonville area. They said he would casually enter a building as if he was a patient, make his way into an office or break room and take wallets, concealing them in his clothing. They said Smith had an unknown accomplice drive him to a nearby store, where they would attempt to purchase gift cards using the stolen credit cards.