[Editor’s Note: This is a breaking news story. This article will be updated as more information is made available.]
Authorities have arrested a suspect days after the woman and her five children walked out of a Menards located at 14161 Manchester Road in Ballwin without paying for a shopping cart full of merchandise. Upon entering the parking lot with the cart, the woman was then seen assaulting a man who was supposedly taking pictures of her vehicle before then trying to run over an employee with her car.
On the evening of Sept. 25, a woman and five children entered the West County Menards location and filled a shopping cart with items. One of the children then rolled the cart past cashiers directly into the parking lot and toward a white vehicle.
According to a police report, a man in the parking lot started taking pictures of his vehicle with his cellphone. The suspect approached him and, according to the police report, assaulted him and took his cellphone.
Multiple Menards employees and customers tried to contact the suspect during the incident. after the suspect got in the driver’s seat, the car then accelerated and struck a female Menards employee before speeding off. St. Louis County Police were notified of the incident at around 8 p.m., which was reported as an armed robbery at the time.
Upon arriving at the scene, emergency medical services were already treating the 49-year-old employee Michelle Arthur for head injuries. She was then transported to the hospital for life-saving treatment. As of Oct. 1, Arthur remained in critical condition and was receiving treatment in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.
Arthur is also the wife of firefighter Joe Arthur of Metro West Fire Protection District.
“We are overwhelmed with the support we have received,” Joe Arthur said. “I have been comforted by the love of our family, my fellow firefighters, and complete strangers. It truly means a lot.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office issued charges on suspect Debbie Penn, 31 years of age, of the 11300 block of Momarte Lane.
Penn was charged for one count of Robbery First Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Stealing – Physically Taking, and Assault Fourth Degree.
Penn is being held on $250,000 “cash only” bond.