HANOVER, Md. (WJZ) — An attempt at petty theft ended up costing a man his life. Police say a suspected shoplifter tried to flee from Arundel Mills Mall but ended up drowning in the process.

Monique Griego has more on how it all happened.

Chopper aerials captured a dramatic rescue attempt at a storm runoff pond near Arundel Mills Mall. Firefighters and divers were trying to locate a suspected shoplifter who tried to make a getaway. Anne Arundel County police say the whole thing started at 8:30 at the Zumiez store inside the mall.

“An employee witnessed an apparent shoplifting, followed three individuals there who were attempting to exit store with merchandise. They were assisted by mall security,” said Justin Mulcahy, Anne Arundel County police.

Security caught up with two of the suspects and charged one of them with theft. But officers say the third person, an unidentified man…

“Tried to make a run for it, if you will, into the sediment pond. It was described as him diving down and never surfacing,” said Mulcahy.

Police say the storm pond is filled with sediment and thick vegetation. At its deepest point, it’s close to 20 feet deep. That deepest point is where they found the missing man. Investigators say they also located stolen shirts and hats in the pond—a tragic end to what began as petty theft.

“It started out as shoplifting, then things end with a death and you have a lot of resources deployed, you have people being deployed, putting their lives on the line trying to find this person,” said Mulcahy.

While police say they’re treating this as an accidental drowning, they’re still waiting for the medical examiner to release an exact cause of death.

The woman detained at the mall, 26-year-old Tania Turner, was charged with theft under $1,000.

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