Fayette County woman arrested

March 15, 2013

A Fayette County woman was arrested Thursday night after she allegedly charged “like a bull” at a loss-prevention officer trying to stop her from fleeing from Macy’s at Washington Crown Center.

Crystal Ann Vernon, 34, of 16 Dunlap St., Republic, is accused of trying to steal seven men’s Polo shirts valued at $655 from the store. North Franklin police were called about 6 p.m. for a report of a shoplifting suspect fighting with a loss-prevention officer.

Vernon allegedly went into a fitting room and concealed the shirts inside a large purse. When she tried to leave the store, Vernon was confronted by a loss-prevention officer.

Police said Vernon dropped her purse and tried to run out of the store. The loss-prevention officer blocked the door to prevent Vernon from leaving the building. Vernon then reportedly charged at the officer “like a bull” in an attempt to move her out of the way. The two women then started to scuffle, falling to the floor. Vernon then twice tried to “donkey kick” the loss-prevention officer, police said.

Township police said Vernon has at least eight other convictions on charges of retail theft in Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington counties dating to 2004, when she stole items valued at $400 from the former Kaufmann’s at Washington Crown Center.

In 2009, she pleaded guilty to stealing items from Walmart, Trinity Point, in South Strabane Township. She was placed in the Intermediate Punishment program for 24 months and placed on home monitoring for six months. She also was ordered to pay $3,160 in restitution.

Vernon was arraigned before District Judge Curtis Thompson on charges of robbery and flight after commission of a theft, as well as retail theft. She was placed in the Washington County jail on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday before District Judge Robert Redlinger.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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