Police cash in on tip, arrest 2 Dollar 'bandits'

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By Lisa King

Police have caught up with two women who allegedly stole quite a bit of merchandise from a local store with the help of a person who read about the theft in The Sentinel-News last week.

Maj. Danny Goodwin of the Shelbyville Police Department said that after the article and security-camera photo were published Friday, someone called to suggest the identity of the women.

Mary Ann Abercrombie, 37, and Melissa Sue Russell, 24, both of Owenton, have both been charged with theft by unlawful taking over $300, Goodwin said. A third woman who was with them has not been apprehended.

The theft happened in mid-April when three women, accompanied by a 5-year-old child, went into the Family Dollar Store on Mount Eden Road and filled a shopping cart full of clothing.

When they got to the checkout counter, one woman said she was not feeling  well and went to the car, and took the clothing, which the clerk had already bagged up, leaving the other woman to pay for the merchandise.

But the remaining woman said she couldn't find her credit card and went to the car to try and find it, she told the clerk.

None of the women returned to the store to pay for the merchandise.

The police report said the women divided up the clothing, totaling $336, when they got back home to Owenton.

Shelbyville Police Office Istvan Kovacs submitted the incident, along with video stills, to the newspaper to be run as a Crime stopper report.

Goodwin said the arrest has ended a crime spree.

"Apparently, they have been going up and down U.S. 60 in various communities, targeting these types of store," he said. "This may solve a whole lot of crimes; the investigation is ongoing into that."

Goodwin added that the solving of the crime is an example of what can happen when people in the community step forward to help keep crime down.

"We can't do this job half as well without the help and support of the community," he said. "

Abercrombie was released from the Shelby County Detention Center under a $5,000 surety bond, having had no previous jail exposure.

Russell, however, is still lodged at the detention center under a $5,000 full-cash bond.