Monday, May 30, 2005

Fort Myers, Florida

From the Fort Myers News-Press of May 30, 2005
Man takes shots at fleeing suspect

Customer charged with attempted shoplifting

A customer fired shots at a shoplifting suspect's car on Sunday as he tried to flee a Publix in Fort Myers.

Donald Biggs, 69, of Fort Myers, who sometimes works in security, said he wasn't aiming at the suspect.

He was worried that the suspect could have run over people as he fled, Biggs said.

"They were getting in his way, and he was trying to get away," Donald Biggs, 69, of Fort Myers. He fired two shots at the tires.

Matthew Depalma, 38, allegedly tried to steal merchandise at about 5:30 p.m. at the store on 3255 Cleveland Ave.

The store manager confronted him as he tried to leave, and he dropped the merchandise, police said. The manager tried to detain him, but the suspect struggled with the manager and a security officer.

The confrontation continued into the parking lot as Depalma got into his vehicle. Biggs ran to his car and retrieved his gun. As Depalma tried to drive away, Biggs fired shots at the tires of the car, but didn't stop the suspect from fleeing.

Depalma was taken into custody after witnesses provided a tag number and the Lee County Sheriff's Office located his car at his home in Cape Coral.

Depalma was charged with attempted retail theft, three counts of resisting a merchant, and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and personal injury. He was held at the Lee County Jail.

Biggs said he has a license to carry a gun. He has not been charged.

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