BERRY HILL, Tennessee (WKRN) – Berry Hill Police are looking for a man who was a shoplifting suspect at one point and a aggravated assault suspect following him.
The crime happened on Sunday March 21 at a convenience store in the 700 block of Thompson Lane. A suspect grabbed a carton of cigarettes and got into a white car.
Surveillance video shows the 26-year-old store clerk chasing the suspect and leaning out the window of the moving car to confront the thief. The video then shows the white car running out of the parking lot.
Another video from a company over 100 yards down the road shows the white car speeding down the road at over 30 to 40 miles per hour. The video shows the clerk falling from the moving car, then rolling three to four times over the hard asphalt.
The car managed to escape and the clerk was left dazed and confused in front of a restaurant full of diners. Surprisingly, the clerk who preferred not to be identified was not seriously injured.
When the police arrived, the shocked store clerk said, “They stole a carton of cigarettes. I tried to get them back, and I grabbed the side of the car and they rushed off and I drove.
The clerk was rushed to an area hospital for treatment of an extensive rash, but luckily he suffered no serious injuries.
According to Berry Hill Detective Tony Russo, the driver of the fleeing car was later identified as Alejandro Price. He says the 45-year-old admitted to the crime.
“Yes, he fully admitted what he had done and knew what was going on. He said he was sorry for what he had done.
Russo says what would have been a simple shoplifting offense instantly turned into the felony of aggravated assault when the clerk was thrown from the car at high speed.
“The driver confessed. Yes, they were actively fighting in the vehicle and at one point he was hit and he just let go.
Russo shows News 2 a photo of the passenger the clerk was fighting. Russo says he’s the shoplifter, but so far the only ID he has is “TOO TALL,” a street name for the suspected thief. He says Alejandro Price wouldn’t admit he knows who it is.
“He claims he didn’t, but I’m sure he did. He’s not going to give it up easily.
Police chief Tim Coleman told News 2 the clerk should never have rushed after the thieves, putting himself in danger.
“At first I was shocked to see a human life treated this way. You’ve got a shoplifter in there and then how quickly it escalated into potential death. I thought to myself, don’t turn shoplifting into homicide, it can escalate so quickly, and life is so precious we can’t bring you back.
If you recognize the man in this story, the alleged shoplifter known as “TOO TALL”, call Berry Hill Police at (615) 297-3242
The clerk is doing well and was back at work today, but declined to be interviewed for this story.