A Lakeland Police officer was injured in a crash on Thursday while responding to a shoplifting call.
Around 12:30 p.m., Lakeland PD responded to the Belk department store on Town Center Drive in reference to a shoplifting in progress.
Police determined that three suspects stole a total of $2,711 worth of merchandise. One of the male suspects, Renford Patterson, 24, was dressed as a woman. The three suspects appeared to be the same suspects who had stolen a large amount of merchandise the week prior.
Lakeland Police officers were waiting outside of the store for the suspects to exit. When they exited, they saw the police cars and began to run, one suspect dropping their bag of stolen goods in the process. The suspects were able to get in their car and drove off, hoping to escape police.
One Sergeant who was responding to the scene attempted to catch up to the car to get a look at the license plate. During that time, his cruiser skidded as he turned, causing him to hit a tree. Police say that the Sergeant received several abrasions.
Eventually, the suspect car blew a tire and police were able to pull them over and arrest the shoplifters. The merchandise was returned to Belk and additional merchandise was recovered from other retail stores.
In addition to Patterson, Archibald Green, 21, and Kentavia Furlow, 25, were arrested and charged with Grand Theft. Patterson faced additional charges for driving on a suspended driver’s License.