Shoplifting suspect stumbles into mall crime scene

VIENNA, W.Va. – A suspected shoplifter was charged Wednesday after being collared a day earlier at the Grand Central Mall by officers investigating the shooting of a suspect in an unrelated incident.

Jessica E. LeMaster, 36, of 2112 10th Ave., Parkersburg, was arraigned Wednesday in Wood County Magistrate Court on a felony charge of third-offense shoplifting.

She was released on a $2,000 bond, but Vienna Police Sgt. Mike Pifer said the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office has been asked to revoke the bond she’d already posted for prior charges.

“She was out on bond for three third-offense shoplifting (counts) out of Wood County Circuit Court,” he said.

Officers from area law enforcement agencies were at the mall Tuesday for Homeland Security Department training, then to assist with an investigation after 24-year-old Steven Lewis Pfalzgraf of Parkersburg was shot by a Parkersburg police officer. Pfalzgraf was allegedly driving a car carrying a purse-snatching suspect pursued by the officers from the mall food court.

After the car dragged one officer and turned toward another, the second officer fired on the vehicle.

LeMaster allegedly took items from Buckle, a store in the mall, and was chased by employees. She emerged from J.C. Penney into the parking lot where officers were setting up crime scene tape and was eventually apprehended by a Wood County sheriff’s deputy, Pifer said.

Given what else was going on, Pifer said, LeMaster was released and not formally charged until Wednesday.

Third-offense shoplifting carries a potential fine of $500 to $5,000 and a possible prison sentence of one to 10 years.