SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - Two women accused of stealing over $1,000 worth of liquor from a Slidell Wal-Mart are behind bars after leading police on a car chase. Officers say the duo later admitted to being part of an organized theft ring.
Rhonda Fields, 40, and Kristina Cleland, 25, were apprehended on Wednesday following a vehicle and K-9 pursuit.
Slidell police say that an off-duty officer working detail at Wal-Mart, located in the 39100 block of Natchez Drive, was informed that two women left the store with a basket full of stolen liquor.
As the detective attempted to stop the women, police say the two fled the scene in their vehicle. During the pursuit, officers say Fields jumped out of the vehicle into a nearby wooded area.
The detective continued to pursue the vehicle and notified other officers of the location where Fields allegedly jumped out.
Police say Cleland, who didn't know her way around Slidell, ended up on the dead end of Rue Jonathan in the French Branch neighborhood. Officers say she turned around and attempted to ram her vehicle into the pursuing Slidell Police vehicles, but ultimately surrendered to police.
Meanwhile, officers say a K-9 unit located Fields hiding in a wooded area near Malbrough Drive. She surrendered peacefully to officers. Fields was treated for minor injuries for injuring her leg while jumping from the vehicle, officers say.
Both Fields and Cleland were interrogated by detectives after the incident. Officers say the duo admitted to being part of an organized theft ring. For months, the women allegedly stole from several stores in the Slidell area and sold the loot for cash.
Officers say Fields had an active warrant for stealing from Burkes Outlet in July of 2014.
The two are currently being held at the Slidell City Jail. They will later be transferred to the St. Tammany Parish Jail, where a bond will be set.
Fields is charged with theft over $1000, resisting an officer, possession of stolen property and an outstanding warrant for theft under $500
Cleland is charged with theft over $1000, aggravated flight from an officer and possession of stolen property.