Derek Tyrone Edwards

Derek Tyrone Edwards 

Provided

HOBART — A 39-year-old man is accused of trying to take a police officer's weapon Tuesday after the officer reportedly caught him trying to steal merchandise from Walmart. 

Derek Tyrone Edwards Jr., of Gary, has been charged with one count each of disarming a law enforcement officer, a level 5 felony, and theft, court records show. He has also been charged with two counts of resisting law enforcement. 

Richard Mayer, a reserve officer with the Hobart Police Department, said he was inside the store when he saw Edwards at about 3:09 a.m. exiting Walmart, 2936 E. 79th Ave., according to a probable cause affidavit in Lake Criminal Court.

His marked squad car was parked outside the entrance/exit doors. 

Edwards walked past all points of sale while pushing an empty shopping cart, and "had a swaying bulge in his pant leg," the affidavit states.

When the officer approached him and asked what was in the pant leg, Edwards allegedly said he was "hungry," and he was escorted back inside Walmart. 

The officer then noticed Edwards had additional suspicious bulges in his arm and stomach, court records show. 

A sales associate said Edwards had $217.87 worth of merchandise, including clothing and batteries, concealed on his person, police said.

When Edwards was being handcuffed, he allegedly tried to push away from the officer and then attempted to pull the officer's gun from his holster, court records show. 

As the officer tried to regain control of his gun, Edwards fled out the door, police said. 

The officer yelled for Edwards to stop, but he continued running east across the parking lot across Colorado Street toward a wooded area, court records show. 

He was found lying on the ground behind a tree, where he was placed under arrest, according to court records. Edwards initially gave a false name and date of birth to police, the affidavit stated. 

Court records show while the officer was a reserve officer with the Hobart Police Department and being paid by Walmart at the time of the incident, he was authorized to wear a Hobart uniform, carry a firearm and make arrests. 

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Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.