urityFort Smith police are searching for a suspected shoplifter who evaded capture in a manner that may have injured her infant child.Police were dispatched to Central Mall at 4:45 p.m. Saturday in response to reports that two women shoplifted several hundred dollars in clothing from The Buckle, as well as apparel from Abercrombie & Fitch and Vanity.
Officer Derek Harwood met with store employees, mall security personnel and one of the suspects, 19-year-old Crystal Crowley, according to a police report.Buckle employee Mitzi Bailey told Harwood that she noticed Crowley and another white female with a baby and a stroller in the front dressing room. Bailey said she offered to help the women, but they declined when the infant began crying, according to the report.Bailey said she and co-worker Lacy Jiminez sifted through numerous pairs of jeans and shirts the customers left in the dressing room and found a T-shirt that was missing a security sensor and a pair of jeans with three sensors stuffed in one of its back pockets.Bailey said she and Jiminez were following both women through the mall when three Abercrombie & Fitch employees noticed and told them that the women had shoplifted from their store as well.
Bailey said she and her co-worker approached the suspected shoplifters and invited them back to their store to talk. She said Crowley complied, but the woman with the baby became highly defensive and left mall with her baby, the report states.Jiminez told Harwood that she and two security officers followed the suspect outside. She said the suspect approached a vehicle and threw the baby into a car seat inside, but did not strap the infant in. The suspect backed out of the parking space and almost struck security officer Larry Boyce, the report states.After the suspect backed out in the wrong direction, Jiminez said, she turned the wheel, causing the baby to fly out of the car seat and land hard on the floorboard on either its side or head, according to the report.
Crowley returned to The Buckle, Bailey said, and revealed each layer of her clothing, which included a pair of jeans from The Buckle and a shirt from Vanity. She said that Crowley admitted to stealing apparel from all three stores.Bailey told Harwood that $540 in merchandise was stolen and a shirt was torn in a spot where the sensor was located, according to the report.Harwood met with Abercrombie employee Amanda Cockrum, who told him that after Crowley was apprehended she walked to The Buckle and found the suspect wearing two tank tops with sensor holes in them. Crowley told the officer that her accomplice had torn tags from Abercrombie & Fitch clothing.Cockrum said that when Crowley and the other suspect left the store, she found that 32 sensors had been removed from stolen clothes and hidden in jean pockets.Another Abercrombie employee said five to six folded shirts could be seen in the bottom of the suspect’s stroller. Cockrum estimated the value of the stolen clothing at $1,000, the report states.Crowley was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting $500-$2,500.
The suspect who fled is described as a 19-year-old female with short, blond hair. Boyce described the suspect’s vehicle as small and box-like.Harwood traced the license plate to a maroon 2005 Toyota Scion, the report states.