Crime

Police: Walmart thieves use deodorant, gunfire to escape

An escaping suspect fired a gun at another vehicle outside Collinsville Crossing early Monday morning following a theft inside Walmart, but no one was injured, police said.

Collinsville Police arrived just before 12:30 a.m. at Collinsville Crossing Boulevard, where multiple shots were fired from a car at another vehicle. Police said a man driving a teal-colored late-model Pontiac Grand Prix had fired shots at another vehicle and fled from the scene.

Police believe the man and other passengers in the Grand Prix were fleeing the Walmart after a theft that had occurred immediately before the shooting. Walmart officials told police that store employees were trying to stop four women and a man from leaving the store because they had not paid for merchandise.

Police also said that one of the women involved in the theft sprayed a can of deodorant in the face of a store employee during the theft, and the man threatened another store employee with a gun. The five suspects and a small child were seen escaping from the scene.

Collinsville Police Lt. Brett Boern said police were investigating and followed a number of leads within hours of the shooting but could not share any further information.

“We’re getting all kinds of leads coming in and we’re making a lot of progress,” Boern said.

Consumers who were shopping at the Collinsville Walmart store on Monday said they were concerned about their safety but not surprised about what happened. Carolyn Hellman, who works nearby at Fairmount Park, said she shops at the store often for supplies. She said that she believes incidents of theft and shooting have become more common there.

“I think it’s everywhere and now it’s come here,” Hellman said. “It concerns me because I do come here almost everyday, at least four or five times a week.”

“I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not,” said another shopper who asked not to be named.

“For something like that to happen, that’s scary. Real scary,” said Collinsville resident Angela Diser. “It’s like you have to look over your shoulder every time.”

Management from the Collinsville store declined to comment. A spokesman for the Walmart corporation, headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., could not be reached for comment.

Anyone with information about the theft and shooting are asked to call Collinsville Police at 6118-344-2131, extension 5139, or Crimestoppers at 866-371-8477.

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