Man Flees From Police After Officers Respond To COVID Face Mask Complaint

Smithfield Police arrested a 36 year-old man after responding to a local business.  Around 5:30pm Wednesday, April 7th, an employee at Nike Factory Store on Outlet Center Drive called police saying a customer was refusing to wear a COVID face mask and would not leave.  

The shopper was reportedly asked by the employee to put on a face mask but he refused.  The employee asked the man to leave the business but he declined.  Police were requested to respond so the individual could be trespassed from the business.

An officer arrived at Nike and encountered the man who reportedly refused to cooperate or provide police with his name so he could be trespassed.  After eventually learning his identity, a routine background check determined Samuel Walter Sylvester of Fayetteville had an outstanding warrant from August 2020 in Cumberland County for failure to appear in court on a communicating threats charge.

When police tried to arrest Sylvester on the warrant he fled on foot.  Police chased the suspect through the parking lot until he fled inside the Polo Ralph Lauren Store and locked himself in a dressing room.  An employee gave police a key to the dressing room and Sylvester was arrested.

Sylvester was charged with resisting a public officer and served with the outstanding warrant.  He was given a $2,000 secured bond. 

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