A serial shoplifter in a motorized shopping cart was apprehended after fleeing Home Depot in Lady Lake.
Violet Rose Gardner, 57, of Lady Lake, was riding in a store-provided motorized shopping cart on Thursday afternoon when she was observed by a loss prevention officer placing a Bluetooth speaker in her purse, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. She had also placed an electrical socket in her purse.
Gardner, still traveling in the motorized shopping cart, left the store through the outdoor garden area without paying for the merchandise. She was confronted by the loss prevention officer who asked Gardner to return inside.
Gardner handed over the stolen merchandise, jumped off the mobility scooter and began to run toward a vehicle in the parking lot. The woman driving the vehicle began to drive away after Gardner ordered her to do so. But she stopped the vehicle when police initiated a traffic stop. The driver said Gardner had asked her for a ride to Home Depot. She said she did not realize that Gardner had stolen merchandise.
Gardner has six previous theft convictions. Due to her previous criminal history, she was arrested on a felony charge of theft and a misdemeanor charge of resisting a merchant. She was booked at the Lake County Jail and released after posting $3,500 bond.