Police: Shoplifter leads cruisers in high-speed chase

A 31-year-old Union County woman who fled in her car with $290 worth of stolen merchandise from Kohl’s on William Street in the city late Thursday afternoon took officers on a 10-mile high-speed chase on Route 220 before she decided to pull over to the side of the road, city police said.

Seeing officers with their guns drawn and stop sticks deployed across the highway, Lesley Anne Snyder pulled over and was taken into custody at Route 220 and Youngs Road in Piatt Township, Patrolman Eric Houseknecht said.

When she fled the department store about 3:45 p.m., Kohl’s security reported to 911 that she had taken off in a white Chevrolet Impala that was last seen on the on-ramp to the four-lane highway, heading toward Linden. The security officer obtained the car’s registration before it fled the parking lot, police said.

Houseknecht was in the area and entered the highway on the same ramp within moments. He caught up with the shoplifter’s car at the Reach Road interchange, where the driver was seen exiting.

However, upon seeing the police car behind her, the woman suddenly crossed over South Reach Road and re-entered Route 220 at a high rate of speed, ignoring the cruiser’s emergency lights and siren which Houseknecht had activated.

While driving in heavy traffic, Snyder reached speeds of 80-85 mph, Houseknecht said.

“As we passed Spook Hollow Road, traffic was very heavy. The Impala weaved in-and-out of the lanes of travel, traveling at speeds reaching 100-plus mph” Houseknecht said.

As Snyder approached Route 287, she suddenly slowed down, turned at a cross over and started heading north back toward Williamsport, Houseknecht said.

The pursuit continued another half a mile before Snyder pulled over, the officer said.

Through his investigation, Houseknecht learned that Snyder also had shoplifted at Kohl’s on Sept. 14, allegedly fleeing with $1,074 worth of merchandise.

Following her arraignment late Thursday night before District Judge James H. Sortman on one felony count of fleeing police and two misdemeanor counts of shoplifting, Snyder was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $35,000 bail.