A shoplifting incident ended in multiple criminal charges for Kristina Perkins (DOB 4/9/82) of North Fort Myers, after she climbed into the ceiling of the Big Lots store in Port Charlotte on Thursday evening. Perkins was eventually arrested after a search of the ceiling that involved multiple deputies and assistance from personnel with the Charlotte County Fire Department and Charlotte County Facilities.
Deputies responded to the Big Lots store at approximately 7:31pm, after the manager called to report a female shoplifter (later identified as Kristina Perkins). The manager advised that Perkins was inside the store for several hours and had entered the women’s restroom with a shopping cart full of merchandise. The manager attempted to enter the restroom to check on Perkins, observing several garbage cans positioned in a manner to barricade the door. The manager verbally advised Perkins that she was caught and law enforcement was on the way.
When Perkins did not exit the bathroom, the manager entered the bathroom and observed tiles missing from the ceiling. Perkins was nowhere to be found. Deputies were able to make visual contact with Perkins several times by removing tiles from various points in the ceiling, however Perkins disregarded their commands to give up and would move to other locations in the ceiling.
Charlotte County Fire & EMS responded for assistance, utilizing their ladders and thermal imaging system. Big Lots was evacuated due to the danger of Perkins falling through the ceiling. Over the course of several hours, a systematic search of the ceiling was completed. A deputy located Perkins’ bag during search. The purse contained three syringes and a spoon with white residue that tested positive for Morphine.
The search was discontinued at 12:20am. A deputy remained inside the store for surveillance, and at 1:40am Kristina Perkins was observed exiting the ceiling and climbing down a stack of shelves. She was arrested upon her arrival to the ground.
Big Lots reports significant damage to their ceiling, duct work, and dry wall. The business will remain closed until repairs can be made.
Kristina Perkins is charged with Felony Criminal Mischief, Petit Theft (3rd Offense, Felony), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting a Merchant, and Resisting Law Enforcement without Violence.