It may not have been the heists of all heists, but police said two women got away with a massive haul of clothing from a Riverchase Galleria store, at least temporarily anyway.
Hoover police were called to Forever 21 about 11 a.m. Thursday. Store employees watched as the pair stuffed a bunch of clothes – 67 items to be exact – into shopping bags and then left the store. Officers went after them, and spotted them as they were getting into a vehicle in the parking lot, said Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector.
The suspects fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Another officer found the fleeing vehicle on Interstate 65 northbound and pulled it over, Rector said. The two women were taken into custody after store workers positively identified them.
The 67 items of stolen clothing were found inside the vehicle, still in shopping bags. Rector said the value of the merchandise totaled $1,285.50.
Stacy Deon Ward, 39, of Birmingham, is charged with second-degree theft of property and attempting to elude. Her bond was set at $3,500.
Lanetta Faye Brown, 24, of Bessemer, is charged with second-degree theft of property. Brown’s bond was set at $2,500.
Ward and Brown were transferred from the Hoover City Jail to the Jefferson County Jail on Friday. They both bonded out of the county jail later Friday night.
The theft was substantial, but Hoover police said they’ve seen even worse. Earlier this year, a woman was arrested after police say she shoplifted 131 packages of razors and Nicorette gum valued at $3,658.21. That incident happened at the Walmart on U.S. 280. The suspect in that case was charged with first-degree theft of property.
“Our retail stores do a great job relaying information to us about individuals they witness committing crimes. We don’t ask that they put themselves in harm’s way, but when they can safely provide a vehicle description, tag number, direction of travel and other helpful information, then that makes it easier for officers to do the rest,” Rector said. “The vast majority of shoplifters aren’t stealing because they have a legitimate ‘need’ for something. Most of the time they’re stealing to produce income.”
“Shoplifted items are frequently resold at flea markets, on the street, at shops that take orders for stolen goods or they’re being traded for drugs or other items of value,” he said.