A Florida woman is behind bars after Polk County deputies say she pepper sprayed employees while trying to steal items from a Burlington Coat Factory, then tried to run over the workers that ran after her with a minivan.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Nikita Lindsey, of Tampa, visited the retail store in the Posner Park Shopping Center near Davenport before closing time.
A worker asked the 31-year-old if she needed help. Deputies said Lindsey got hostile with the worker, saying she would slap the glasses off of her face if the employee didn’t get out of her way.
Authorities said Lindsey filled a shopping cart and then tried to push it out of the store without paying. When the wheels locked, two workers approached Lindsey and she then sprayed them with a chemical, then ran off, according to the sheriff’s office.
Three employees rushed after Lindsey believing she was leaving the store. Deputies said Lindsey made it to her Dodge Journey minivan and then accelerated toward the workers, missed, and drove off.
Deputies in the area spotted the minivan and attempted a traffic stop but Lindsey accelerated and sped off through heavy traffic, even speeding through a red light, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities did not pursue Lindsey because of the traffic.
Law enforcement later found the minivan with a flat tire nearby. Deputies spread out to search for Lindsey and found her as she was trying to get away in an Uber, according to the sheriff’s office. Lindsey was taken into custody.
Detectives said Lindsey’s minivan was loaded with stolen items from stores like TJ Maxx and Ross. Most of the items had price tags and anti-theft devices still attached, deputies said. Authorities believe she had stolen around $7,000 worth of items.
Lindsey is now facing a number of charges including three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, robbery with a weapon, fleeing to elude and driving with a suspended license.