ATHENS, Ga. -- A Clarke County grand jury has added charges against a 340-pound woman who used pepper spray when assaulting employees at Piggly Wiggly grocery two months ago.
Athens-Clarke police initially arrested Lonneshia Shafaye Appling, 26, in May on charges of aggravated assault, felony shoplifting, simple battery, disorderly conduct and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
An indictment filed last week in Clarke County Superior Court now includes the additional charge of battery for injuring one of two employees she blasted with the pepper spray.
Appling, who has an extensive history of shoplifting arrests, has been held without bail at the Clarke County Jail since the Piggly Wiggly incident.
On May 23, a customer alerted employees to a shoplifting in progress after she saw Appling hide items in a large canvas bag in her shopping cart, then pay for just one item at the checkout counter. When employees tried to stop Appling at the exit, she pulled out a can of pepper spray and shot a burst of the toxic liquid into one of the employees’ face.
The indictment accuses the woman of pepper-spraying a second employee.
Police said after she targeted those employees, Appling then dispersed the spray all around her and ran out a side door.
As employees chased the 340-pound woman outside, they saw Appling drop cans of beer from her purse, police said. When they caught up with the woman and spoke with her in an attempt to detain her for police, Appling punched one of the workers, then spit in his face.
While fleeing, Appling even offered the employees money if they would stop following her, but they stuck with her until officers arrived and arrested her, according to police.
Appling, of 115 Sena Drive, was charged with felony theft by shoplifting not because of the value of the items she tried to steal — $88.27 — but because she has a long history of shoplifting arrests, police said.
Last week’s indictment refers to six shoplifting convictions in Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties since 2006.
Appling has created public spectacles before, like when she was arrested in January for shoplifting at a grocery in Madison County.
The Madison County Journal reported that when the officer tried to take Appling into custody, she started taking her clothes off and told the officer she had AIDS.
As the officer struggled to cuff the large woman, the Journal reported, Appling continued to strip until she was completely naked. She broke free from the officer, who subdued her with a taser.