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Knife-Wielding Shoplifting Suspect Arrested at Lakeland Hotel


Last updated 10/10/2019 at 1:08pm

Suspect Doranda Jo Ussery

Lake Wales Police arrested a 24-year-old Avon Park woman Oct. 10 in connection with a Walmart shoplifting incident 11 days earlier that turned violent with her wielding pepper spray and a knife.

Doranda Jo Ussery was arrested at the Imperial Swan Hotel on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland after the Highlands County Sheriff's Department received information on her location. Highlands Detective Charlie Peck notified Lake Wales police, who worked with the Lakeland Police Department to secure Ussery's arrest.

Police said Ussery barricaded herself in a hotel room after seeing law enforcement, but she subsequently surrendered to Lakeland Police Officer Chad Landry. Police said Ussery then gave a full confession to Lake Wales Police Detective James Lewis.

She was taken to the Polk County Jail on her warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft and battery.

In their original report, police said Ussery paid $16.34 for items, then set off security alarms as she attempted to leave the store with more than $350 in merchandise, including sunglasses and a backpack she was wearing.

After Loss Prevention staff picked up dropped cards that helped identify the suspect, the woman returned to the store and asked that police not be called since she was on probation and had two children.


Knife-wielding shoplifting suspect caught on surveillance video

Before police were called, the woman removed a can of pepper spray from her purse and charged three Walmart employees, spraying into their faces. The incident was caught on video. According to the police report: "Loss Prevention was able to remove the pepper spray from Doranda's hand at which time she stated, 'I have a knife.' Doranda had armed herself with a knife that had a blade of three to four inches long. Doranda made a motion as if she were going to stab Loss Prevention and even raised it over their head. Loss Prevention believed they were in a fight for their life. The two associates were able to escape the room and block Doranda's swing of the knife while backing away."

The suspect fled into the parking lot, got into the passenger side of a red Chevrolet Cruz and left the area, before police arrived. Using the license plate number, Lake Wales police worked with law enforcement in Highlands County to locate the driver and vehicle.

Police said her arrest history includes burglary, grand theft auto, resisting an officer without violence, giving false identification to law enforcement, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia


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