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Woman dies after struggle with security guards

DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) -- A woman suspected of shoplifting at a Rite-Aid drug store on the city's east side is dead after a scuffle with store security guards Friday morning.

The woman was detained and handcuffed by guards between 8:30 and 9 a.m. EDT, said Detroit Police Officer Alecia Thomas.

The woman managed to slip out of the handcuffs, struggled with guards and was subdued, Thomas said. When police arrived she was unconscious and had stopped breathing.

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Her identity is not being released. Thomas said Detroit Police are investigating the incident as a "death," not as a homicide, although homicide detectives were involved in the investigation.

Security guards told police the woman had about $200 worth of merchandise when she was apprehended, Thomas said.

This is the third incident in the Detroit area in less than a year in which a suspected shoplifter has died during a scuffle with security guards.

In June 2000, Frederick Finley, 32, died after a scuffle with guards outside a Lord & Taylor department store in Dearborn, Michigan. An original charge of involuntary manslaughter against guard Dennis Richardson was dismissed in September by a Dearborn District judge, but an appeals judge reversed that decision and ordered the charge to be reinstated.

Richardson is now awaiting trial.

In another incident, Travis Shelton, 38, of Detroit died after fighting with guards at a Kroger grocery store in Royal Oak Township. Police reports say Shelton, who had a criminal record that included shoplifting, was stealing meat from the store. Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca did not press charges against the guards.



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