CRESTVIEW — A 32-year-old Freeport man is in custody following a Saturday night rampage in which he allegedly caused more than $100,000 in damage to the liquor store under construction at the Crestview Wal-mart and to construction equipment.
Multiple 911 calls flooded the Police Department’s Dispatch Center around 9:10 p.m. stating the suspect, identified as Mathew Horace Jones, was using a forklift to damage the building under construction.
Jones allegedly broke into the fenced-in construction site on the north side of the Ferdon Boulevard South store and, using a JCB extendable forklift parked at the job site, destroyed the building under construction, which will be attached to the main store.
During his rampage, Jones also reportedly damaged a city of Crestview fire hydrant and a 2-inch water meter valued at $3,200. Callers to 911 also said Jones “was throwing cinder blocks off the scaffolding in the construction zone.”
A site superintendent for McWhorter and Company, the building’s contractor, said damage included $40,000 in scaffolding and materials; $15,000 in block and mortar; a $15,000 forklift; $7,500 mixer; $1,500 mud pans; and $4,000 in damaged fencing.
Including $10,000 in labor to clean up the site following the incident and $20,000 plus $30,000 in overtime labor to rebuild the toppled walls and get back on schedule, company officials estimated total damage at $128,000.
When Jones aimed the forklift toward Crestview Police officers, he was stopped at gunpoint and detained. He “stated his name was Alice Wonderland and he was told to commit the offenses by a hookah-smoking caterpillar,” his arrest report states.
Later Jones provided his correct name and agreed to explain his actions to arresting officers.
“The defendant stated (Walmart was) building a place to sell alcohol and he had a problem with it,” Crestview Police Sgt. Don Howe stated in the report.
Jones was charged with felony grand theft; use of a motor vehicle to damage property of another in excess of $1,000; criminal mischief with damage greater than $1,000; and violation of felony probation. Jones is currently on probation for burglary. He was remanded to the Okaloosa County jail.