Shoplifter shoots at store employee who chased him after theft -

Shoplifter shoots at store employee who chased him after theft

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Melody Whitley. Credit: KMOV Melody Whitley. Credit: KMOV

GRAY SUMMIT, Mo. ( -- Franklin County Sheriff's detectives are searching for a shoplifter who shot at a store employee after stealing more than $100 in laundry detergent.

The theft happened at the Dollar General store in Gray Summit Tuesday around 12:30 p.m.

Assistant store manager Melody Whitley told News 4 the thief set off an alarm when he ran out the back of the store with a basket loaded with laundry detergent.

"I  saw him get in his car, he makes black marks and takes a right out of the parking lot here. Right or wrong I get in my car and I go," said Whitley.

Whitley said she chased after the thief in hopes of getting his license plate number but abruptly stopped after he pointed a gun out the window and started shooting at her.

"And he started firing on me, so then common sense told me to back off a little bit," said Whitley.

Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton told News 4 the best thing store employees or customers can do if there's a theft is to get as much information as possible about the suspect and call authorities.

Pelton said, "There's a lot of unknowns right now in the society that we live in when you go chasing down after a suspect and I think this is a prime example, with a handgun coming out the window, of things that can go terribly wrong."

The thief is described as a white man who was wearing a red shirt, black jacket, blue jeans and a light blue hat. He was driving a silver Chrysler sedan that had a black top or was a convertible.

Whitley said she's learned he lesson about chasing shoplifters but is it still upset about the theft.

"I don't like thieves, hate them. They're no use," said Whitley.

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