A woman in Florida has been arrested following a daring attempt to evade capture for allegedly shoplifting by hiding in the store’s ceiling for over six hours.
37-year-old Kristina Perkins of North Fort Myers, was arrested after police were called to the Big Lots store on Thursday, October 3.
Deputies from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said they were called to the scene at around 7:31 p.m. after the manager reported a female shoplifter.
The suspect had allegedly been in the store for several hours and had gone into the women’s restroom with a shopping cart full of items. When the manager attempted to enter the restroom to check in on Perkins, several garbage cans were found to be in place blocking the door.
The manager then told Perkins that the authorities had been informed and they were on their way.
When the suspect still did not emerge from the bathroom, the manager forced their way in and noticed several ceiling tiles were missing and Perkins was nowhere to be seen.
When police arrived at the scene, they were able to make visual contact with Perkins while she was in the ceiling by removing certain tiles. However, she refused commands to give up and come down and continued to move around the ceiling space to try and evade capture.
Authorities were forced to bring thermal images to identify the precise location of the woman.
During the search, the suspect’s bag was located. Inside officers found three syringes and a spoon with white residue that later tested positive for morphine.
The search eventually ended at around 12:20 a.m., but one deputy remained at the scene for surveillance. Around one hour and 20 minutes later, Perkins eventually exited the ceiling and climbed down a stack of shelves, where she was arrested.
Perkins was later charged with felony criminal mischief, petit theft (3rd offense, felony), possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a merchant, and resisting law enforcement without violence.
The Big Lots store sustained significant damage during the stand-off to their ceiling, duct work, and drywall. The store is expected to remain closed until the damage has been fully repaired.
Source : Various