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Athens police reports detail stalking of detective by convicted felon

Lonneshia Shafaye Appling

By Joe Johnson

A convicted felon reportedly stalked an Athens-Clarke County police detective for over a month before she was arrested last week following a high speed police pursuit.

Lonneshia Shafaye Appling, 37, of Ashley Circle has a decade long history with the detective due to her extensive history of committing theft and shoplifting.

Det. Nathaniel Franco said he first became involved with the woman in 2013, when Appling earned notoriety as the “Piggly Wiggly Bacon Thief,” for a shoplifting incident at the former Lexington Road supermarket in which Franco said he was involved as a patrol officer.

In that incident, according to police reports, Appling punched, spat at and pepper sprayed Piggly Wiggly employees as she attempted to make off with stolen beer, bacon, cheese and chicken wings before being arrested.

The woman began harassing Franco on Nov. 27, four days after she was arrested and released on bond for a felony shoplifting charge in a case that Franco investigated, according to a police report.

The report indicates that on that day, Franco was in his yard with his son when Appling slowly drove by and waved.

“It was apparent that she wanted him to see her,” according to the report.

Two days later, on Nov. 29, Appling called the detective to “make statements that the gun found in her car at the time of her arrest was not hers,” according to the report, and Franco asked Appling why she drove by his house.

The woman replied, “I live there,” which the report noted was untrue even though her brother lived on a nearby street, and being a convicted felon, Appling would not be living with her brother because he is an Athens-Clarke sheriff’s deputy; Franco had never seen her in his neighborhood prior to that day.

Subsequent to that incident, Appling reportedly continued to call the detective from different phone numbers to yell and scream “in a manner that what she said was unclear,” according to the report.

Appling also called 911 to ask for Franco’s supervisor because she said the detective was “harassing her for trying to locate her to serve the warrants,” according to the police report.

The detective filed a stalking report early the morning of Dec. 12, after Appling called screaming at him, saying that she “was going to find him and give him a reason to lock her up,” the report notes.

Franco said he was concerned for himself and his family’s safety due to Appling’s behavior, and police set up extra patrols for checks on the detective’s house and the detective posted updates on Appling for officers, according to the report.

Three days later, the evening of Dec. 15, Franco alerted fellow officers that Appling had driven past his house in a U-Haul van, after having sent him threatening emails.

Appling was subsequently located in the van on Morton Road, police said, from where she led officers on a seven-mile high-speed chase on Lexington Road that ended when a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped the van at Grove Street.

Along the route of the chase, Appling reportedly weaved in and out of traffic, drove on the wrong side of the road, ran over two sets of stop sticks and ran red lights, according to police.

When arrested, Appling head butted an officer and kicked at others, according to a police report that indicated Appling had a bag of fentanyl in her bra.

Franco said clothing was recovered from the rental van. “It appears that Appling had been driving around the state stealing clothing from various businesses for a period of time,” the detective said.

After she was taken to the hospital for a blood test, Appling was charged with six counts of failure to maintain lane, two counts of running a red light and making illegal U turns, along with single counts each of reckless driving, driving under the influence, simple battery against a law enforcement officer, felony and misdemeanor obstruction, fleeing in an attempt to elude, and possession of a Schedule II drug.

As of Wednesday afternoon, she remained at the county jail, having been denied bond by a Magistrate Court judge.

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