Man allegedly soliciting money in Wal-Mart parking lot arrested after struggle with police

CAMDEN — A Camden police officer needed help restraining a 6-foot-8, 330-pound Dover man who was reportedly soliciting money in a Wal-Mart parking lot Friday morning, according to an arrest affidavit.

Andre W. Woods, 34, was handcuffed when he allegedly pushed himself away from a police vehicle at 10:17 a.m., knocking an officer back and having “to recover quickly to force [the defendant] back onto the vehicle in an attempt to maintain compliance.”

A struggle ensued, causing an estimated $2,000 in damage to a police vehicle, according to police in court documents.

The officer was pushed away again while struggling to hold Mr. Woods to the car, according to police, and a second person pulled up in a vehicle asking if assistance was needed.

“[I] accepted,” the offer, according to the arresting police officer.

The Wal-Mart in Camden has a standing request for police to address persons soliciting on its property, authorities said. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

The situation unfolded as an off-duty Camden Police officer first noticed a sign-holding man in the parking lot appearing to be “begging for money“ and concern for his safety in traffic was expressed, the affidavit said.

The man allegedly answered with an expletive when the off-duty officer attempted to contact him, documents said. Several more profanities followed in the course of eventually going to his knees and raising his arms into the air without being asked.

Mr. Woods allegedly told police “he worded his sign carefully so he could not be arrested for begging,” according to the arrest report.

The defendant loudly claimed he was being harassed and robbed by police, papers said, punctuating his allegations with several profanities.

Wal-Mart has a standing request for police to monitor persons soliciting on its property at 263 Wal-Mart Drive, documents said.

According to police, Mr. Woods said he was “not begging for money but seeking employment.” Authorities said $53 in mostly $1 bills was located in his pockets, according to the affidavit.

Misdemeanor charges included disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and terroristic threatening, along with solicitation and third-degree criminal trespass violations.

Mr. Woods was arraigned via video phone at JP Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach, and a $1,100 secured bond was ordered.

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