LA GRANGE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police have arrested a suspect in a violent theft at a Walmart in Oldham County.
According to an arrest report, 26-year-old Shampayle Strother was taken into custody on Monday afternoon at the Oldham County Library on a number of charges, including robbery.
The incident in question occurred Thursday afternoon at the Walmart on New Moody Lane in La Grange. Police said Strother got away with several pieces of jewelry, but what's causing the outrage is how he got his hands on the merchandise.
Dennis Clark said his 89-year-old mother was working at the Walmart on New Year's Eve when she was assaulted by a customer asking to see jewelry.
"An individual came up to the jewelry counter where she was working, wanted to see some jewelry," Clark said. "When she started to unlock the drawer, he reached over, and she just put her hand out and said, 'No.' And with his other hand, he hit her on the side of the head, and it knocked her into the counter and then onto the floor."
Clark said the punch left his elderly mother bruised, bleeding and unconscious.
"She had a big lump on her head, and then she had scrapes and cuts on her head as she was falling and hit the counter and then hit the floor," Clark said.
Police say surveillance video showed Strother run into a stairwell in a nearby Best Western, where officers believe he changed clothes.
Witnesses who knew Strother came forward to identify him, according to police, and a tip led to his arrest in the parking lot of the Oldham County Library on Monday.
Police say when they found him, he was wearing gold necklaces that had been stolen from the Walmart.
He is currently being held in the Oldham County Detention Center, and is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree wanton endangerment and fourth-degree assault.
For his part, Clark, who is also a K-9 officer with the Strathmoor Village Police Department, says he is still shocked by what happened to his mother.
"She's a tough person, and she was like, 'Don't panic. The police are here. I'm going to the hospital. It's going to be OK,'" Clark said. "She's telling me it's going to be OK. She's an old woman that's 4'11 and 89 pounds. I mean, there's no reason to have to do that."
Clark was not happy that the suspect was able to just walk out of the store.
"I asked her if anybody did anything. She said some people came over when she was on the ground," he said. "I said, 'Nobody chased this guy out of the store? Nobody followed him from a distance with a cellphone? Nobody grabbed him? Nothing?' If I would have thought any place would have grabbed him, it would have been in that area there."
"It's like that old saying: 'Everybody wants to be a hero ... until you have to do hero things,'" he said.
Clark said his mother was taken to the hospital but has already been released. He said she's always been a fighter.
"She has beat cancer," he said. "She's had her neck broken, had a knee replacement."
Clark said his mother's Walmart family has also been helpful.
"I know the manager up there. He's good manager," he said. "You know, they love my mom. Everybody in town knows her. She was born and raised there, just really nice person, do anything for you. So Walmart is really taking care of her."
Which is why Clark said he will not try to prevent his mother from returning to the job.
"She has worked there for 36 years," he said. "She works 40-50 hours a week because she volunteers for the overtime. She says it keeps her young."
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