A Pendergrass couple was arrested April 8 after an Ingles employee spotted the two placing several items inside the female’s purse.
Police arrived just as the couple attempted to leave the store. The officer noticed that the male was walking at a very fast pace followed by a female carrying a purse which appeared to be full.
The officer ordered the pair to stop, but the male, later identified as Jason Allen Brannon, 33, of 183 Hoot Owl Hollow in Pendergrass, continued walking to a red Ford Ranger parked in a handicap parking space. Brannon walked to the driver’s side door, opened the door and then closed it.
The female, Michelle Gonzales, 28, also of 183 Hoot Owl Hollow in Pendergrass, said she was only trying to buy some milk. When the officer asked what was inside the purse, Gonzales began crying and said she was sorry, but needed the items and could not afford to buy them. Gonzales then removed over $83 worth of stolen merchandise from her purse. The items included two flashlights, transmission fluid, two plastic mugs and three Summer’s Eve feminine hygiene products.
Brannon also said he entered the store to buy some milk. He said he did not know Gonzales was stealing items from the store. When the officer informed Brannon that a witness saw him handing items to Gonzales to place inside her purse, he denied any knowledge of the theft.
The officer asked Gonzales for permission to search her vehicle. Gonzales said she believed the keys were locked inside the truck. According to the report, Gonzales said she wanted to have the car doors unlocked so that she could retrieve her keys.
When the officer looked inside the vehicle, he noticed the keys hanging from the ignition switch. Since the officer witnessed Brannon open the driver’s door after exiting the store, he attempted to open that door only to discover it was locked. The officer used a slim jim to open the door. Once the door was opened, the officer again asked permission to search the vehicle and Gonzales consented.
When the officer began searching the vehicle, Brannon yelled at Gonzales and asked if she had given consent for the search. She confirmed that she had.
During the search, the officer located a plastic baggie containing a green, leafy substance suspected to be marijuana in the center console. The officer also found four peach colored pills in a mint tin, a small amount of suspected methamphetamine and a set of digital scales.
When asked, Brannon denied that the drugs were his and began yelling at Gonzales that she better admit that they were hers. She yelled back and replied that she had no idea who owned the drugs.
The officer also discovered a CD player which Gonzales admitted had been stolen from Walmart earlier that day along with several other items.
Both Brannon and Gonzales were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance. Gonzales was also charged with shoplifting.
Other recent arrests by Winder Police include:
• Alicia Ann Dukes, 37, 219 Lynn Drive, Bethlehem, shoplifting.
• Andreana Charlene Clark, 36, 258 East Fifth Avenue, Winder, DUI, failure to maintain lane, turn signal violation and equipment violation.