Police: Shoplifter took employee on ride

Calgary Police investigate the scene where a male responsible for numerous hit-and-runs and a...

Calgary Police investigate the scene where a male responsible for numerous hit-and-runs and a robbery was ran off the road by police at 16th ave and Barlow Trail in NE Calgary, Alta. on Nov. 4, 2012. (QMI Agency/STUART DRYDEN)

DAMIEN WOOD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

CALGARY - From heroine to hostage in a hurry, a Zellers employee was taken on a wild ride by an alleged would-be shoplifter Sunday night in Calgary.

Police say the female employee of the Zellers at Sunridge Mall in the city's northeast chased a male suspect out of the store about 5 p.m.

That took her across the parking lot to a car, which she entered to try and stop him from leaving.

"He pulled a knife on her and told her to get out of the vehicle," Insp. Paul Stacey said. "But she wrestled the knife away from him."

During the struggle, Stacey said, the car started and the man drove away the wrong way along 36 St. N.E., trying to escape with the woman still in his car.

As the car fled, it struck three vehicles, one in the parking lot with an eight-year-old inside and two more in oncoming traffic along 36 St. N.E.

The child was not injured.

"He's got, essentially, a hostage in the vehicle with him," Stacey said. "We knew we only had one choice, which was to stop that vehicle at all costs ... we couldn't let him go."

With a police helicopter and multiple police cruisers following, officers rammed the car, arrested the driver and rescued the Zellers employee.

She was uninjured and Stacey said the suspect is "essentially uninjured," but was taken to hospital as a precaution before being taken into custody.

A 32-year-old man now faces a long list of charges, including robbery, assault with a weapon, hit and run, forcible confinement and dangerous driving, and probably several others by the time investigators finish sorting through Sunday's events, Stacey said.

He also said the plates on the fleeing car came back as stolen. Whether the car was stolen is not yet known.

What the Zellers employee tried to do is not something police advocate, but Stacey said it's hard to be critical.

"Look at the danger she put herself in. You've got to weigh the risks versus the rewards on this type of thing," he said, adding the last thing police want is for somebody to be injured.

"That being said, we're not in her shoes as this is occurring."

damien.wood@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNDamienWood


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