911 calls detail cross-dressers’ pepper spray attack

January 14th, 2011 by Staff


Jan 14, 2011 (Sun Sentinel – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) –
BOYNTON BEACH –

Surveillance videos and 911 recordings reveal the chaos that followed a botched shoplifting attempt at a Home Depot on Wednesday when two suspects used pepper spray on store employees and customers, authorities said.

Police arrested four men initially, including the two who were dressed as women. They were accused of stealing power tool batteries at the home improvement store at 1500 SW Eighth St. and were confronted by security officers just before 1 p.m., said police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater.

“A purse full of batteries” was among some of the items recovered before the suspects fled the store, according to Slater.

One woman, who identified herself as a “sales associate” in the store, told the 911 operator, “two black transvestites maced me and my other associate then came back in fighting.”

Another 911 caller started coughing repeatedly as she explained how the pepper spray mist was affecting her breathing.

The video appears to show two people the sales associate referred to as “asset protection associates” stopping the two suspects as they tried to leave the store. As security employees Anthony Varona and Stanley Landin struggled to restrain the suspects, the video appears to show an aerosol blast of what police identified as pepper spray.

One of the suspects, identified as Kendal Edgar Lowry, 26, of Opa-locka, is seen hitting the security men with the aerosol canister as they wrestled with the second suspect, identified as David Tucker, 24, of Miami. Lowry appeared to flee the store but returned to repeatedly strike the security employees with the canister again, according to police. Both suspects are seen running across the parking lot as the video ends.

Two other suspects were identified as Jeffrey G. Baldwin, 37, of Miami; and Carlton A. Mitchell, 19, of North Miami Beach.

Tucker is facing an additional charge of possession of an anti-shoplifting device. Baldwin was charged with robbery with a weapon but charges against Mitchell were dropped when investigators later determined he played no role in the robbery, authorities said.

“One of the loss prevention officers who was treated at the scene told us that he was sprayed heavily with pepper spray,” Slater said.

Six employees and customers in the area were overcome by the pepper spray, she said.

“One older woman apparently passed out from being affected by the fumes,” Slater said.

The elderly woman was among four people taken to Bethesda Memorial Hospital for treatment, she said, while two others were treated at the scene. All have been released from the hospital, Slater said.

Lowry and Tucker were charged with robbery with a weapon; aggravated battery with a weapon; and aggravated battery on a person over 65.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Ted S. Booras on Thursday ordered Lowry held on $140,000 bail; Tucker on $55,500 bail and Baldwin on $50,000 bail. Booras also ordered all three to have no contact with the store or any of the alleged victims.

Dozens of people were evacuated from the Home Depot at the time.

“We do have a safety plan that was implemented by the store and it worked very well,” said Home Depot district operations manager Keith Marchesani. “They did follow our standard operating procedures and thank goodness everybody was safe.”

The suspects tried to escape in a red Ford Explorer, but a police sergeant stopped the SUV and arrested them before they could leave the parking lot, Slater said.

Assistant State Attorney Mary Ann Duggan said Baldwin has at least seven felony convictions for robbery and drug charges, all believed to be from Miami-Dade County. She said Tucker has three felony convictions for drugs and prostitution in the Miami and Orlando areas and at least 10 misdemeanor convictions. She did not mention any past arrests for Lowry.


Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment. You are free to voice your opinion but please keep it clean. Any comments using profanity will be rejected.