Police Busy Chasing Shoplifters At Soddy Daisy Walmart; Officer Hurt

Monday, May 20, 2013

Police were involved in at least two chases with suspected shoplifters at the Soddy Daisy Walmart on Monday.

In the first incident, Soddy Daisy officers were summoned on a shoplifting call. Officers arrived before the suspects got away. However, an officer was injured while trying to stop them.

Several hours later, a woman was pushing a buggy near her car in the parking lot of the Soddy Daisy Walmart when she heard a commotion.

She said she saw officers chasing a black male and a black female.

The frightened woman said the pair suddenly began running straight for her vehicle. She said the officers were able to tackle the pair before they could reach her.  

Arrested were Ashley Robinson of Chattanooga and Kerry Gravitt of Smyrna, Tn. Gravitt was arrested for shoplifting and Ms. Robinson for assault on an officer, vandalism, shoplifting and resisting arrest.

In the first incident, Soddy Daisy Police received a call of a theft at Walmart. Dispatch advised that it was the same person who had stolen items there before but had not been identified.

Several officers responded to Walmart and the suspect came out the store pushing a shopping cart with items in it. When the suspect was approached he fled on foot and ran to a vehicle with two other people inside.

The suspect ran to the passenger side and jumped in the car. Officers stopped the driver, Anthony H. Cuevas, and pulled him out of the vehicle. He was placed in custody.

The suspect, Michael Rankin, jumped from the passenger seat to the driver's seat. Officers tried to pull him from the car, but he was able to get the vehicle in drive and pulled out dragging Officer Craig Winters and pinning him between the suspect vehicle and his police unit.

Shots were fired at the suspect vehicle during the incident. Rankin and an unidentified female passenger left the scene and were lost around I-24 and Rossville Boulevard. A vehicle description was sent out to local law enforcement agencies and it was located by East Ridge Police in the Ringgold Road area.

Police followed the vehicle, which ran off the road shortly after exiting the East Ridge tunnel. Rankin was taken into custody.

The female passenger, Kelly Baily, 46, of 1117 E. 33rd St., Chattanooga, was later taken into custody.

Officer Winters was transported to Erlanger Hospital by Hamilton County EMS. He was treated and released.

Cuevas of 7315 Haven Hill Lane, Chattanooga, was charged with shoplifting. His bond is $10,000.

Rankin, 45, of 1415 E. 48th St., Chattanooga, is charged with shoplifting, evading arrest, aggravated assault and attempted murder. His bond is $342,000.

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