By Joe Johnson
An Athens woman was charged last week with felony shoplifting and fighting with the police detective who arrested her at the Georgia Square mall, according to an Athens-Clarke County police incident report.
The incident reportedly began at about 12:50 p.m. Jan. 30 when a loss prevention officer at the Belk department store notified the detective that a woman was in the store carrying a purse that appeared to be filled with merchandise.
Upon observing the woman leave Belk and stand next to a vehicle before returning to the store, the loss prevention officer peeked into the vehicle and saw a pile of Bath & Body Works merchandise on the back seat, according to the police report.
The report noted that the Belk employee was aware that Bath & Body Works stores in Athens “had been targeted in large thefts recently” and he called the detective at the west police precinct that is located at the mall to report what he had observed.
As the detective walked toward Bath & Body Works, he called an employee there to ask if the suspect had been in the store, at which time the employee acknowledged that the suspect had been, then told the detective that the suspect had returned, according to the report.
After the suspect left the store, the detective radioed a request for back-up so that she could be questioned, according to the report.
When the woman saw the detective and heard his request for backup, she ran from Belk and into the parking lot, according to the report, which noted the woman continued to run after the detective identified himself as a police officer and ordered her to stop.
When he caught the woman, identified as 37-year-old Angel Anita Brightwell of Oak Park Court, she resisted the officer’s attempt to place her in handcuffs.
“During the struggle, she was reaching around a lot and I did not know what she was doing so I grabbed her by both arms and pressed her into a tree until back-up arrived to allow me to take her into custody,” the detective wrote in the incident report.
The officer described having difficulty controlling the suspect due to her size, which was listed in the report as being 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 275 pounds.
Backup officer helped take Brightwell to the ground so that she could be handcuffed, according to the report.
A search of Brightwell’s purse found lotions, sprays and other assorted body products valued at $93.40, and the Bath & Body Works merchandise in Brightwell’s vehicle had a total value of &365.10, according to the report.
Brightwell, who had a history of multiple shoplifting convictions was charged with two counts of felony theft by shoplifting because she left Bath & Body Works with stolen merchandise on two occasions; and one count each of felony obstruction and simple battery on a police officer.
The detective stated in his report that Brightwell had several bags of clothing in her vehicle that had store tags on them.
The vehicle was towed so that the detective could obtain a warrant to search the vehicle, according to the incident report.
Brightwell was released from the Clarke County Jail he day after her arrest, upon posting good security bonds totaling $4,000.