TAMPA – A woman suspected of taking merchandise from the Burlington Coat Factory at University Mall ran into a pond, but the search for her was called off Tuesday night when divers did not find any sign of her.
The case started when two employees of the store caught a suspect trying to take something from the store, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The woman then broke free and ran out of the store toward a pond about 100 yards away.
The store employees followed her until she entered the pond and went in about chest deep, according to the sheriff’s office. The workers turned away, and when they looked back the woman couldn’t be found.
The sheriff’s office received a 911 call about 4:30 p.m. about a fight in the parking lot of the store, located at 2244 University Square Mall.
Divers from the sheriff’s office arrived to search the pond, and a helicopter checked the area from above. Investigators will determine in the morning if the search will resume.
During the search, a witness told investigators that she was spotted hiding on N. 15th Street. Deputies checked but weren’t able to locate her, the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with any information in the case asked to call the sheriff’s office at 247-8200. Or, to be eligible for a cash reward, people should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report the tip anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text “CSTB plus your tip” to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).