CLEARWATER — Authorities say a woman accused of stealing boots from a discount department store, then trying to run down a security guard may be part of an organized theft ring operating in at least two Tampa Bay area counties.
Police arrested Santana Gamble, 25, on charges of felony battery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest without violence, petty theft, possession or use of antishoplifting device, criminal mischief, resisting a merchant's employee and driving while her license was suspended or revoked.
According to Clearwater police, Gamble went into the Marshalls at 21323 U.S. 19 N about 6:50 p.m. Thursday and removed an antitheft device from a pair of boots.
Police say she left the store without paying for the boots and another item.
A store loss-prevention officer and a shopping mall security guard approached Gamble as she got into her 1994 Honda.
As she drove off, police said, she tried to run over the security guard and hit two parked cars.
Police did not immediately release how Gamble was taken into custody. But while officers were investigating, they found merchandise stolen from Ross stores in Hillsborough County.
Clearwater police detectives found more than 70 items, including shoes, clothing, electronics, games and toys that came from Ross or Family Dollar stores.
Clearwater police are coordinating with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, as they suspect Gamble may be part of an organized theft ring in Clearwater and neighboring jurisdictions.
Gamble, of 2026 Fourth St. S, Unit D, St. Petersburg, was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Friday after posting $41,250 bail.
Rita Farlow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4157.