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Police: Woman shoplifted, then struck officer with car

Wendy M. Downey (Bethlehem Police Department)

BETHLEHEM -- Police say a Bethlehem officer was struck by a woman who had just shoplifted, while working on a separate case.

At about 2 p.m., the officer was in the parking lot of the Glenmont Walmart, taking a report for a property damage crash. While doing so, the officer observed a loss prevention officer from the store, trying to stop a woman who had just shoplifted there, police said.

The officer ran toward the fleeing suspect, who got into her car. The officer signaled for her to stop, and approached the front of the vehicle, police said. Then the suspect put the vehicle into drive and drove forward, striking the officer. Despite having been hit, the officer approached the driver's side of the vehicle and convinced the suspect to stop. She was taken into custody, and the officer was treated by Delmar-Bethlehem EMS and transported to St. Peter's Hospital with a knee injury.

Wendy M. Downey, 58, of Castleton was charged with felony counts of Assault in the Second Degree, and Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, misdemeanor counts of Petit Larceny, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 4th Degree, Resisting Arrest, Reckless Driving, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Vehicle in the Third Degree, Operating While Registration/License Suspended, and violations of Unregistered Motor Vehicle, Uninsured Motor Vehicle, Unsafe backing, and Failing to Comply with an Officer.

Downey was arraigned, and remanded to Albany County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday.

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