A man accused of shoplifting from the T.J. Maxx on Whittlesey Boulevard on Dec. 9 pepper-sprayed an officer who tried to arrest the woman who authorities identified as his accomplice, according to testimony Wednesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Antonius Tykeo Bridges, 24, pleaded not guilty to one count each of aggravated assault and second-degree criminal damage to property and two counts of theft by shoplifting. He was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $7,500.
Columbus Police Sgt. Randy Long said authorities were called to the T.J. Maxx at 5550 Whittlesey Blvd. around 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 to investigate a shoplifting.
Police spoke with the store’s loss prevention officer who said he saw a man and woman loading up a cart with clothing. The woman went around the corner of the T.J. Maxx and started removing the security devices on the clothing without purchasing it, Long testified.
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The loss prevention officer said he recalled seeing them earlier that day around 5:30 p.m. at a Macon Road store.
He said he was trying to arrest the woman when Bridges pepper-sprayed him in the parking lot, leaving him with blood-shot eyes. His cellphone broke during the incident.
The suspects fled before authorities arrived on the scene.
Long said Opelika, Ala., police called him about three days after the incident informing them that two people shoplifted from the T.J. Maxx at 2185 Tiger Town Parkway in Opelika. They asked if anyone had robbed or shoplifted at a Columbus T.J. Maxx, which officials confirmed.
Opelika police released surveillance of the suspects to the media hoping that someone would be able to identify them. They told Columbus police days later that they had identified Bridges as a suspect in the Opelika incident.
Police showed the loss prevention officer a photo lineup, and he identified Bridges as a suspect in the Columbus incident. The female suspect has not been identified and there are $2,000 worth of the stolen items that have yet to be recovered, Long said Wednesday morning.
Represented by Columbus Public Defender Charles Lykins, Bridges didn’t testified in court.