Lufkin PD: Woman suspected of shoplifting fled custody, hid under car

Brooke Penney (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Brooke Penney (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Melissa Jones (Source: Angelina County jail)
Melissa Jones (Source: Angelina County jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After being detained by Lufkin Police officers, one of two shoplifting suspects caught at Walmart Thursday allegedly managed to escape and fled across the parking lot, where she hid under a vehicle.

The woman was re-captured a short time later.

Brooke Leanne Penney, 30, was arrested and charged with escape from custody, a felony, and theft of property between $50 and $500, a misdemeanor. She posted a collective bail of $3,000 and was released later Thursday.

The other shoplifting suspect, Melissa Lawson Jones, 27 was charged with theft. She posted a bail of $1,500 and was released later Thursday.

According to the police report's narrative, a Lufkin Police officer responded to the Walmart store located at 2500 Daniel McCall in reference to two suspected shoplifters. A store employee told the 911 dispatcher that she was watching two shoplifting suspects via real-time surveillance footage.

The loss-prevention employee later told Lufkin Police officers that she watched Brooke conceal makeup, food items, clothing, and watches in their purses. They selected a hair product and purchased it, but they allegedly didn't pay for the items hidden in their purses.

The employee stopped the two women at the exit and escorted them to the loss-prevention officer.

When the officer arrived on the scene, he knocked on the door to the store's loss prevention office, but no one answered. He walked further into the store, and when he looked south toward the garden area entrance, he spotted a store employee and a woman, who as later identified as Brooke engaged in a heated tug-of-war over possession of a purse, according to the report's narrative.

Upon seeing the LPD officer, Brooke let go of the purse and ran outside. When the officer ran outside via the grocery exit, he saw Brooke again trying to take the purse back from the Walmart employee.

As he got closer, Brooke allegedly fled on foot across the parking lot. The officer yelled at her to stop several times, and after she rounded several vehicles, he closed the distance between them enough to restrain her without further incident.

Brooke was handcuffed and placed in the back of the LPD patrol until with the seatbelt latched. At that point, the Lufkin Police officer followed another LPD unit back to Walmart. The first officer got out of his patrol unit to ask the second officer if he needed help with the second shoplifting suspect, Jones.

When the first officer returned to his patrol unit, he found that Brooke had allegedly escaped custody and was running across the parking lot again. A third LPD officer saw Brooke hide under a vehicle in an attempt to elude police. She was taken back into custody a short time later and taken to the Angelina County Jail.

Later, the first officer went back to talk to the loss-prevention office, where Jones was crying and shaking her head back and forth. The Walmart told the LPD officer that the merchandise allegedly stolen by the two suspects totaled $280.71.

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