LAKE WALES, Fla. — The search is on for a Florida woman seen pepper spraying Walmart loss prevention employees after she was being questioned for shoplifting.

Doranda Jo Ussery walked into the Walmart store on State Road 60 just before 6 a.m. Sunday and shopped for more than two hours before heading over to a self-checkout lane, according to a Lake Wales Police Department news release.

A loss prevention employee approached Ussery and told her not to forget to pay for the sunglasses and backpack she picked up and was wearing. After she allegedly said she no longer wanted the sunglasses and said the backpack was her boyfriend's, she walked toward the exit.

She paid $16.34 worth of items all while carrying bags of products, police say.

Doranda Jo Ussery
Doranda Jo Ussery
Lake Wales Police Department

Ussery set off the store's security alarms and ran into the parking lot before she could be stopped, the release states. However, police say she dropped a few identification cards and was told to get back to the store.

Ussery reportedly said she'd return the stolen items, totaling $358.23, if loss prevention didn't call police. She claimed she was on probation and had two children.

But before employees could call for help, Ussery pulled out a can of pepper spray and set it off. After workers were able to get control, she claimed she had a knife. Poice said it had a blade of 3-4 inches long, and Ussery began motioning that she was going to stab them.

"Loss Prevention believed they were in a fight for their life," Lake Wales police said.

Ussery was able to get out of the office and jump into the passenger side of a red Chevrolet Cruze, police said. 

Eventually, officers caught up with the car and its driver, but Ussery was missing.

An arrest warrant issued for Ussery includes aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft and battery. She has a history of burglary, grand theft auto, resisting an officer without violence, giving false identification to law enforcement, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, the news release states.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lake Wales Detective James Lewis at 863-678-4223 Ext. 264 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.

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