AUGUSTA — A report of a man riding a shopping cart full of groceries on Monday night down Civic Center Drive near Denny’s diner brought a quick response from Augusta police.

Officer Sara Moynihan recognized Wyatt Daril Wilson, 40, of Augusta, from previous police encounters, and he told her he was heading home.

Wilson has prior convictions for burglary and theft. In January 2012, he was convicted of breaking into Lisa’s Restaurant on Bangor Street after he was found passed out on the basement floor surrounded by open alcohol bottles, mostly Allen’s Coffee Brandy. He told police he was looking for shelter from the cold and a dry place to sleep.

Monday night, Moynihan noticed the cart Wilson had was “filled with groceries but none of it was in bags,” she wrote in an affidavit detailing probable case for his arrest. She asked if he paid for the cart, and he said he had.

“Wyatt advised he paid for everything but the alcohol,” she wrote, but he could not locate any receipts.

She noted she could smell alcohol on his breath.

Moynihan told him that leaving a store with a shopping cart was theft.

“Wyatt stated that I should have looked the other way and kept driving,” Wilson wrote. “He stated it’s just food and he’s homeless.”

Another officer reported that Wilson was seen on surveillance video “in the grocery section of Walmart passing all points of sale and failing to pay for the items in the cart.”

So Moynihan arrested Wilson around 7:10 p.m.

Moynihan’s affidavit says Wilson threatened police and yelled while en route to jail and then threatened an officer at the jail, who declined to pursue charges.

Walmart employees said the groceries were worth $165.32, the shopping cart was valued at $200, and they wanted to press charges.

Wilson made an initial appearance Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail, and a judge set bail on the theft charge at $1,000 cash or $2,500 unsecured with a Maine Pre-trial Services contract.

Conditions of bail prohibit Wilson from possessing alcohol and dangerous weapons. He is also prohibited from returning to any Walmart.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams