Suspected Rhode Island Shoplifter Dies After Jumping 25-foot Parking Garage to Flee Security

A suspected shoplifter in Rhode Island ran from store security and jumped over a railing at a Rhode Island shopping mall, falling 25 feet to her death, authorities said.

The 35-year-old woman who died Thursday evening was aware of the drop, police said Friday. Providence Place Mall security personnel told police they heard over a radio someone telling the woman to get away from the edge and that it was dangerous, said Providence police Maj. David Lapatin.

A Nordstrom security guard had approached the woman at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday after she returned women’s clothing she had taken off of racks but hadn’t paid for, Lapatin said. The woman received hundreds of dollars in cash for the returned items.

The woman left the store, with the security guard behind her, and entered the parking garage, where she jumped over the railing, Lapatin said.

He said it wasn’t clear if the woman was walking or running before she jumped, and he would not comment on whether the woman paused before leaping.

The woman was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her identity has not been released.

Detectives watched surveillance video of the leap, but they have no plans to release it, Lapatin said. He called it “a very unfortunate incident” and said criminal charges weren’t being contemplated.

Nordstrom asked the security guard to take time off from work to participate in the police investigation, but the employee has not been placed on leave, store spokeswoman Tara Darrow said.

“This was a traumatic experience, and she was understandably quite distressed, so that was part of the equation,” Darrow said.

Darrow declined to comment on whether the employee followed company procedure. Dennis Richards, who answered the phone at the mall’s management office, referred calls about what happened to police.

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