Woman denies biting store employee following alleged shoplifting incident

  • Stock gavel in court

Published: 10/10/2017 11:44:06 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A Springfield woman has been ordered to stay away from Big Y supermarket on North King Street after allegedly biting a store employee who confronted her about a theft.

Elizabeth Ritchie, 28, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court Tuesday to charges of assault and battery, a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting by concealing and two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon. She is being represented by attorney Torran M. Bagamary.

Northampton Police were called to Big Y around 12:15 p.m. Monday for a report of a combative shoplifter who had a knife, according to court documents.

When police arrived, they found Ritchie sitting on a bench outside of the store surrounded by supermarket staff, including loss prevention associate Bryan Wisk. Ritchie was “very agitated” and kept yelling “he took me to the ground,” according to a report written by Northampton police officer Jeffrey Staples.

Ritchie told officers she went in the store and tried to steal steaks, admitted what she did was wrong and that she would pay for the goods, Staples wrote.

Wisk said he approached Ritchie after he saw her put several packages of meat into her purse and move toward the exit. He attempted to stop her and Ritchie began taking the steaks out of her purse and “discarded them on the floor in a frivolous manner, stating she would pay for the items,” Staples wrote.

Wisk asked Ritchie to go to the store’s office, but instead she pushed past him, according to court documents.

“At this point a struggle ensued, and Wisk brought her to the ground. Wisk stated that during the struggle, Ritchie bit his left hand, and also kicked him in the abdomen area, hitting his belt,” Staples wrote.

Following the struggle, Ritchie allegedly reached into her purse and pulled out a folded pocket knife.

While police were speaking with Wisk about the alleged biting, Staples wrote that Ritchie yelled out, “I did not bite him” and “that’s not even the hand I was trying to bite.”

Wisk sought treatment on his own at Cooley Dickinson Hospital for his hand, according to court documents.

Following her arraignment, Ritchie was released on personal recognizance. In addition to staying away from the Northampton location, Ritchie must also stay away and have no contact with the store employee, according to court documents.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.


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