The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 12, 2012

Deputies looking for pair who crashed their way from Kmart shoplifting

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County sheriff deputies are still looking for an Ashtabula man and woman who heavily damaged three vehicles in their bid to escape after a shoplifting incident at the Ashtabula Towne Square last week, according to a report.

A security guard was pushed and struck by the woman as she made her escape, while the man — who was behind the wheel of the getaway SUV — repeatedly backed into another vehicle while trying to flee, injuring that driver, deputies said.

The incident began around 5 p.m. Tuesday, when security personnel at the Super Kmart contacted deputies to report a female shoplifter had been apprehended and taken to a store office, but then fled the store, escaping in an SUV that cut a path of parking lot destruction. The woman, along with a male companion, were spotted on video cameras concealing ink cartridges in her clothing, deputies said.

Employees chased the woman out of the store, and while in the parking lot told her to stay put until authorities arrived. The man who had been in the store with the woman then shouted to her from the SUV, telling her to run. When the woman began to bolt, she was grabbed by the employees. The suspect pushed and then struck a 23-year-old security worker in the face before hopping in the vehicle, deputies learned.

The man, in his hurry to escape, backed into the SUV repeatedly into a compact car, driven by a Kmart employee arriving for work, that pulled up behind the getaway vehicle just moments earlier. His rear exit blocked, the man then drove forward into a parked pickup truck and sedan, shoving them out of the way. The Kmart employee in the vehicle struck by the SUV later complained of pain and told deputies she would visit the Ashtabula County Medical Center emergency room.

A short time later, deputies found the SUV abandoned behind a bush near the Bob Evans Restaurant a short distance from the mall. Witnesses told deputies the occupants ran from the vehicle and into nearby woods.

The SUV is registered to a Jefferson man, who told deputies he had loaned the vehicle to his 28-year-old grandson and his 39-year-old girlfriend so they could run an errand, according to a report.

Deputies said they would seek robbery and criminal damaging charges against the man and robbery charges against the woman.