Shoplifter flees, scares shoppers at 2nd store

A man fled police and store security after taking items from a Greenwood store, only to head directly to a neighboring store and rattle shoppers there during a scuffle, police said.

Gayle G. Garling, 60, of Greenwood, was arrested on felony charges of resisting law enforcement and theft and misdemeanor charges of battery on police, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct. A police officer injured his hand during Garling’s arrest Tuesday evening.

Police were called to Walmart on Emerson Avenue after store security reported seeing Garling leave without paying for $244 worth of items. A Greenwood police officer tried to stop Garling’s car in the parking lot, but he drove dangerously, jumped a curb onto Emerson Avenue and headed to the nearby Kroger Marketplace, a Greenwood police report said.

He sped in front of the store, and vehicles and people walking had to get out of his way to avoid being struck. He eventually stopped his car and began running toward the store and bystanders, police said.

A police officer used his Taser to stop Garling, the report said. He fell but reached inside his waistband and continued to fight police. An Illinois police officer in the area saw the commotion and helped get Garling under control, as more police arrived. At one point, Garling turned his body in a way that caused scrapes and bleeding to a Greenwood officer’s hand, the report said.

Several bystanders asked police if they were OK because of the ongoing struggle by Garling, police said.

Garling, of 5434 Old Smith Valley Road, was treated for facial bleeding, cleared by the hospital and taken to the Johnson County jail, where he was held on $5,400 bond. He also is facing two unrelated felony theft charges in Johnson County from 2016 and 2017.

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Michele Holtkamp is editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2774.