ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The wife of a Metro West firefighter was run down in the parking lot of a Menards store where she worked after a shoplifter and her kids fled the store.
Investigators said a woman and five children entered the Menards on Manchester Wednesday evening. They walked around the store and loaded a cart with items.
“Spent 20 minutes in there walking up and down the aisles, filling up a shopping cart and then before they left, the woman went over to one of the managers, distracted her while the kids pushed the cart out of the store," said Officer Tracy Panus, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department.
The woman and kids loaded up the car. Meanwhile, employee Michelle Arthur followed to talk to the woman. A man on the parking lot used his phone to take photos and then the violence unfolded.
“She (the suspect) grabs the phone, assaults him, and jumps in the car and runs into the manager as she’s pulling away…she critically injured the manager,” Panus said.
St. Louis County police were called to the store around 8 p.m. for a report of a robbery. They found EMS treating Arthur, who was suffering from a head wound. She was later taken to the hospital for life-saving treatment.
Shoppers were stunned by the violence and a woman using her children to help commit a crime.
“First of all, stealing, involving the children, and then brutally hurting someone; so I’m sad about that's what our world’s come to,” said shopper Carol Hower.
Arthur, 49, is married to a St. Louis-area firefighter. Fellow Menards employees said they love work alongside Arthur.
Menard, Inc. issued the following statement about the incident:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our injured employee and her family at this time. Because this is a police matter, we are unable to comment further, but we can tell you that the safety of our employees and customers is always our first priority.”
Police described the suspect as an African-American woman, approximately 35 to 45 years old, standing 5’9” tall, and weighing 200 pounds. At the time of the incident, she was wearing a bright neon shirt or jacket and a dark-colored head wrap.
Please contact the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 to speak to investigators regarding the incident. Call St. Louis Regional CrimeStoppers if you have any information at 1-866-371-8477 or visit STLRCS.org. Tips sent through this hotline are eligible for a reward. You can remain anonymous.
Images of the suspect and chidren: