Store manager is almost run over by getaway truck after photographing its license

Police were called April 18 to a grocery store in the 37600 block of Highway 26 after an elderly woman allegedly filled a grocery cart with merchandise, loaded it in her pickup and drove away, narrowly missing a store employee with her truck.

Another customer saw the woman as she was leaving the store with the cart full of merchandise, later determined to be valued at between $450 and $500. The witness told a store employee, who called the manager.

The store manager walked outside to the truck, where the woman was still placing a blanket over the merchandise she had placed inside the cab.

The manager took a photo of her license plate, showing the number as well as the rear end of a brown, older model Chevrolet pickup.

When the manager went to the cab to speak with the woman, she rolled the window up, put the truck in gear and started to back up, he told police.

The manager stepped back as soon as the truck started to move backward, according to the police report.

“Once the truck backed out enough,” the officer stated in his report, “the driver put it in drive and drove toward (the manager) as it made its getaway.”

The manager told police the truck missed him by about 2 feet. He said his heart rate increased, and he was afraid he was going to die.

After watching surveillance video and questioning witnesses, the officer tried to get identity information from the Department of Motor Vehicles, but it was closed because it was a furlough Friday. Later a DMV clerk told the officer the license wasn’t in their records yet because it was likely a recently issued plate.

The following week, the officer was called to training, followed by days off, so the case was given to a Sandy detective.

Meanwhile, a Sandy police records technician had obtained an address for the registered owner of the pickup, and the detective visited the home April 24, about a week after the alleged theft.

In the driveway was the brown pickup with the matching license plate seen in the photo provided by the store manager.

During a conversation with a woman identified as Sally Ann Smith, 69, of Boring, who the detective said matched the photo obtained from surveillance video, the woman allegedly admitted she had taken the merchandise without paying.

“She looked at the photo for approximately 30 seconds and didn’t say anything,” the detective wrote in his report. “I told Sally what I knew about her stealing the groceries and asked her why she did it. She replied, “I don’t know; just to see if I could do it.” Sally also said she was “sorry I did it.”

When asked if she had financial difficulties, she told the officer no; instead, she said she was just “bored.”

Asked why she left the store’s parking lot so fast when she was confronted by (the manager), she replied, “Because I was scared.”

The officer told Smith she would be arrested for trespassing if she ever entered the store again. He gave Smith a criminal citation for theft as well as a citation for reckless endangerment. The case also was referred to the Clackamas County district attorney for a review of charges and prosecution.

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