Suspect arrested in one armed robbery; also charged in similar case 100 miles away

Ocala, Florida – February 21, 2024 – Police have arrested a man who they say robbed a northeast Ocala jewelry store a week ago. Authorities said the man, Michael Deon Woulard, is a suspect in a similar jewelry holdup in another county that took place several months ago. Ocala Police Detective Denise Drake and Jacksonville officials interviewed Woulard last week about the jewelry store robberies. Local officials said Woulard admitted to committing the crime at the jewelry store in Ocala. He told detectives he committed the robberies because he wanted money, according to an arrest affidavit.

Woulard was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals and Gainesville authorities after a traffic stop on Feb. 21, the day after the Ocala armed robbery.

A search warrant for the vehicle Woulard was driving at the time he was detained was obtained. Detectives said they recovered a large amount of jewelry from the vehicle. Detective Austin Ridge of the Ocala Police Department assisted Drake with the investigation.

Ocala officials said they don’t think Woulard was involved in two jewelry heists at the Paddock Mall that occurred in late January and early February. On Feb. 20, the day before Woulard’s arrest, Ocala police officers said a man, believed to be Woulard, entered the jewelry store in Ocala. T

Police said the robber wore dark clothing and a face covering. Armed with a firearm, the man ordered two employees into the bathroom, then broke display cases and removed large amount of jewels. The robber fled and police were called.

During the investigation, detectives were made aware of a similar robbery in Jacksonville. Jacksonville authorities were contacted. Investigators found similarities in the crimes and the description of the gunman.

Authorities in Jacksonville had DNA evidence that they say linked Woulard to their holdup. Due to the connection, detectives from both Jacksonville and Ocala combined their resources to apprehend Woulard.

A warrant for Woulard’s arrest was issued on Feb. 26 for robbery, false imprisonment, drug possession and tampering with evidence. He also has a warrant from Duval County for robbery.

Criminal record

The Ocala store was closed from Feb. 20 until Feb. 23. An armed security guard was in the store when the Star-Banner reporter visited the business on Tuesday. Asked if the store always had security, the woman told the reporter she could not answer that question.

Police officials they have not specifically assigned any personnel to the store and believe the armed guard is privately retained by the store.

Though Woulard does not have a criminal record in Marion County, state documents show he has been in and out of prison since July 2011 for various crimes such as drug trafficking. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, Woulard is a designated sexual predator with convictions for lewd or lascivious exhibition on a victim younger than 16 in Duval County.

Click here to read the original source of this article from the Ocala StarBanner.

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