Alleged Walmart shoplifters arrested after pursuit

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- Three people accused of shoplifting from Walmart were arrested Friday after one of them tried to flee in handcuffs and the others led authorities on a 45-minute pursuit, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said.

The sheriff's office arrested 22-year-old Miguel Nino, 19-year-old Lynasie Connally and a 16-year-old boy, all of the San Tan Valley.

About 5:40 p.m. Friday, the sheriff's office received a 9-1-1 call about a possible shoplifting in progress at the Walmart store at Hunt Highway and Gary Road.

An employee reported that three people who had previously been trespassed from the store were filling a plastic bin with merchandise. The employee suspected they were going to steal the items.

The caller then told the dispatcher that the alleged shoplifters were running out of the store toward a red Pontiac Grand Am.

The sheriff's office said a motor deputy arrived in the parking lot and saw Nino running toward the Pontiac.

The deputy parked his motorcycle in the front of the car and contacted Connally and the 16-year-old boy. He saw a plastic bin in the back seat, containing possibly stolen items.

The deputy handcuffed the teen and turned his attention to Nino, who reportedly got into the driver's seat. The sheriff's office said the deputy ordered Nino multiple times to get out of the car.

The teen then allegedly began running through the parking lot, and Nino was able to start the car. The sheriff's office said Nino sped away, nearly hitting the deputy and motorcycle.

Other patrol deputies responded and followed the Pontiac for more than 45 minutes along main roadways and through neighborhoods, the sheriff's office said.

The car stopped in a farm field near Sierra Vista and Bella Vista roads, and Nino and Connally allegedly ran and hid.

Meanwhile, the motor deputy got on his motorcycle in the Walmart parking lot and began searching for the teen. With help from a nearby citizen, the teen was located and detained.

The sheriff's office said he admitted to helping steal the items and had a pair of goggles in his pocket that were believed to be stolen from Walmart. He reportedly told the deputy Nino was probably armed with a handgun.

The teen was booked on charges of shoplifting, escape and trespassing.

A K-9 was called to the farm fields, and Nino and Connally were found hiding in thick brush, the sheriff's office said.

Connally allegedly tried to kick a deputy while being taken into custody.

Nino reportedly admitted to using cocaine and methamphetamine before the pursuit.

The sheriff's office said deputies recovered a meth pipe from the car, along with several rounds of ammunition and $334 worth of apparently stolen merchandise. 

Nino was booked into Pinal County Jail on charges of aggravated assault of a peace officer, resisting arrest, unlawful flight, reckless driving, aggravated DUI, shoplifting, and possession of stolen property.

Connally was booked on charges of shoplifting and aggravated assault.