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Return to store results in shoplifting arrest

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A shoplifting suspect who initially eluded a pursuing Walmart employee Friday by running into traffic and flagging down a ride was apprehended about an hour later when she returned to get the car she had left behind, police said.

Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Maj. David Decatur said the incident began about 4:12 p.m. at the Walmart at 11 Village Parkway off Warrenton Road.

The woman is accused of going into the store, grabbing a handful of plastic bags from the front register area and filling the bags. Decatur said the suspect loaded about $550 worth of items, including food and baby clothes, before heading out the door without paying.

A loss prevention officer confronted the woman near the entrance, Decatur said, and she ran off—leaving the cart full of items behind. The employee ran after her, repeatedly telling her to stop and informing her that the Sheriff’s Office had been called.

Decatur said the woman ran onto busy U.S. 17, where a man finally stopped and picked her up. The man and his vehicle were located 15 minutes later at a CVS pharmacy about a mile away.

The man told Deputy Karl Warnick that he stopped because the woman appeared to be in distress. She told him she was the victim of domestic violence and asked him to drop her off at the CVS, which the man did.

About an hour later, Decatur said, the suspect returned to the Walmart dressed in different clothes and got into her car. She drove to a nearby gas station, where she was stopped by Warnick and taken into custody.

Kathryn Elaine Howell, 39, of Spotsylvania County was charged with grand larceny and driving on a suspended license. She was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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