Man, woman charged in theft from local Dollar General store

Luke Ray Garrett and Cheryl Smeltser. (Jail photos)
Luke Ray Garrett and Cheryl Smeltser. (Jail photos)(KWTX)
Published: May. 23, 2017 at 5:04 PM CDT
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A man and a woman both were held Tuesday in the McLennan County Jail charged with robbery in connection with the theft of items from the Hewitt Dollar General store and the assault of one of its employees.

Cheryl Smeltser, 45, of Hewitt, and Luke Ray Garrett, 24, of Waco, both were both charged with robbery, according Hewitt Police.

Jail officials said Garrett's bond was set at $10,000.

Smeltser's bond had yet to be set as of Tuesday night.

The two were arrested after an off-duty officer working security at a nearby business stepped outside to take a break and noticed a commotion outside the store, Hewitt police Chief James Devlin said.

As the officer approached, she saw a woman standing outside yelling at a couple who were inside a car, then the car hit the woman who was later determined to be a Dollar General clerk.

"She continued to say 'bring the item back,'" said Devlin of the clerk.

"Based on where she was standing, the female driver put the vehicle in drive and pushed the employee out of the way and that was witnessed by our officer."

The employee told the officer the man and woman in the car had stolen something from the Dollar General before the car hit her in the legs and sped off.

The off-duty officer radioed dispatch and other officers were sent to track the vehicle down.

One of the other patrol officers noticed the suspect's car about half-a-mile away, stopped it and arrested Smeltser and Garrett.

“We don’t know for sure what they stole, but we think it was a bottle of wine that the man stuffed up under his shirt,” Devlin said, adding the pair had plenty of time to discard evidence before they were stopped.

“We’re still reviewing video so this is still under investigation,” Devlin said.

Devlin said additional charges could be added and the suspects' charges were escalated to robbery instead of simple theft because they committed an assault during the theft.

The employee was not hurt, Devlin said.