Home News Shoplifter avoids police for hours climbing through Big Lots ceiling

Shoplifter avoids police for hours climbing through Big Lots ceiling

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Port Charlotte, Florida — A woman suspected of shoplifting spent about six hours hiding in a store’s ceiling in an attempt to avoid police before finally being taken into custody.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department says Kristina Perkins, 37, has been charged with felony criminal mischief, petit theft, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a merchant, and resisting law enforcement without violence.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s department, deputies were called to a Big Lots in Port Charlotte on Thursday after the store’s manager told authorities he saw Perkins enter the women’s restroom with a shopping cart full of merchandise. The manager told deputies he tried to enter the restroom to check on Perkins and that several garbage cans had been positioned to block the door.

The manager warned Perkins that deputies were on the way and that she was caught. When he entered the restroom, he noticed several ceiling tiles were missing and that Perkins wasn’t in the restroom.

This led to a search involving several deputies, firefighters and other officials, the sheriff’s department says. Although they found Perkins several times by removing tiles, she refused to come down and would move to other locations in the ceiling, authorities say.

Officials stopped searching at 12:20 a.m. but left a deputy in the store to keep watch. The deputy saw Perkins leave the ceiling and climb down some shelves at 1:40 a.m. She was arrested when she reached the ground, authorities say.

Officials say the store had significant damage to its ceiling and duct work.

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