By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A mother-daugher duo from South Bend are facing criminal charges after allegedly attempting to steal merchandise from the Warsaw Walmart and pepper spraying an employee.
Shyleena L. Franklin, 19, South Bend, is charged with aiding robbery resulting in bodily injury, a level 3 felony; aiding robbery, a level 5 felony; and aiding theft, a class A misdemeanor.
Shamika D. Mitchell, 41, South Bend, is charged with robbery resulting in bodily injury, a level 3 felony; robbery, a level 5 felony; battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, a level 6 felony; and theft, a class A misdemeanor.
On Nov. 8, 2022, a Warsaw Police officer responded to a battery report at Walmart. The officer met with an employee who was assaulted when a customer sprayed her in the eyes with pepper spray.
According to court documents, the employee noticed two women with a cart full of merchandise looking around in a suspicious manner, as if looking for store personnel. When the employee asked the women for their receipt, as they bypassed the cash registers and were heading toward the store’s exit, the women ignored the employee’s request.
As the women continued to leave, the employee again asked for a receipt when one of the women sprayed pepper spray in the employee’s face. Once outside of the store, the women abandoned the shopping cart full of merchandise, hurriedly jumped into a nearby vehicle, and left. The women left the cart at the store after a second employee confronted them.
On Nov. 11, 2022, a store employee sent the officer photographs of the suspect vehicle’s driver. With the assistance of law enforcement in St. Joseph County, the driver was identified as Franklin. Through reviewing video surveillance, officers determined Franklin was the getaway driver for the women.
Video surveillance also showed Franklin shopping with the two women but leaving the store prior to the assault.
On Dec. 18, 2022, Warsaw Police were notified the vehicle used in the November 2022 assault and attempted robbery was at Walmart. Officers went to the store and discovered the vehicle was being driven by Franklin.
Franklin admitted to being in her vehicle at Walmart during the November 2022 incident but said she did not go inside the store. She identified Mitchell, her mother; and a cousin as the suspects involved. However, Franklin did not provide her cousin’s name. When asked if they were planning to steal from the store again, Franklin said it was Mitchell’s plan and that she was staying in the vehicle.
After reviewing surveillance footage and identifying information, Mitchell was identified as the individual who pepper sprayed the Walmart employee.
Mitchell has prior convictions for counterfeiting, theft, and battery. In one of these prior cases, Mitchell entered a Macy’s store in Mishawaka, stole items, and pepper sprayed an employee who attempted to stop her.
Franklin was booked in the Kosciusko County Jail on May 1, with a $20,250 surety and cash bond.
A warrant was issued for Mitchell’s arrest on March 15.