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Tampa shoplifting suspect arrested after relative turns her in, deputies say

TAMPA — A woman accused of shoplifting from a University Square Mall store whose escape from custody touched off a widespread search Tuesday night was in jail Wednesday morning after a family member turned her in, authorities said.

Kenia K. Lee, 20, was caught shoplifting children's clothing at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday at Sears, according to Hillsborough sheriff's officials. As two loss prevention officers escorted her to an office, she took off and ran toward a retention pond on the north side of the mall, where they lost sight of her.

Several witnesses and the Sears loss prevention staff saw Lee get in the water, but never saw her come out. As a result, Sheriff's Office dive team was called to search for Lee. Canine units and a helicopter joined. The search was suspended late Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a family member of Lee's saw her picture on an evening news broadcast, sheriff's officials said. She escorted Lee to the Sheriff's Office, where deputies arrested her on charges of theft and probation violation.

Lee was held Wednesday at the Hillsborough County Jail without bail.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office announced that it will ask the court to make Lee cover the cost of her search, which they estimate was $5,000.

Tampa shoplifting suspect arrested after relative turns her in, deputies say 12/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 1:12pm]
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