The crime occurred Sunday, March 21 at a convenience store on the 700 block of Thompson Lane. A suspect grabbed a carton of cigarettes and got into a white car.
Surveillance video shows the 26-year-old store clerk chase after the suspect and lean into the window of the moving car to confront the thief. The video then shows the white car racing out of the parking lot.
Another video from a business over 100 yards down the road shows the white car speeding down the road at upwards of 30 to 40 miles per hour. The video shows the clerk falling off the moving car and then rolling three to four times across the hard asphalt.
The car managed to get away and the clerk was left dazed and confused in front of a restaurant packed with diners. Amazingly, the clerk who preferred not to be identified was not seriously injured.
When police arrived, the shaken store clerk said, “They stole a carton of cigs. I tried to get it back from them, and I held on to the side of the car and they sped off and I went rolling.”
The clerk was transported to an area hospital for treatment of extensive road rash, but thankfully had no serious injuries.
According to Berry Hill Detective Tony Russo, the getaway car driver was later identified as Alejandro Price. He says the 45-year-old admitted to the crime.
“Yeah, he fully admitted to what he did, and knew what was going on. He said he was sorry for what he did.”
Russo says what would have been a simple misdemeanor shoplifting charge increased in a single moment to felony aggravated assault when the clerk was thrown from the speeding car.
“The driver confessed. Yes, they were actively fighting each other in the vehicle and at one point he got hit and he just let go.”
Russo shows News 2 a picture of the passenger the clerk was fighting. Russo says he is the shoplifter, but so far, the only identification he has is “TOO TALL,” a street name for the alleged thief. He says Alejandro Price would not admit he knows who this is.
“He claims he didn’t, but I’m sure he did. He is not going to give him up to easily.”
Police Chief Tim Coleman tells News 2 the clerk should have never rushed out after the thieves, putting himself in such jeopardy.
“I was shocked at first to see a human life treated in that manner. You have a shoplifter in there, and then how quickly it escalated to a potential death. I said to myself, don’t turn a shoplifting into a homicide, it can escalate so quickly, and life is so precious we cannot bring you back.”
If you recognize the man in this story, the alleged shoplifter known as “TOO TALL,” give the Berry Hill Police a call at (615) 297-3242
The clerk is doing well and was back at work today but declined to be interviewed for this story.