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Suspected Walmart shoplifter rescued by county-wide fire-rescue rope team – she ran over a cliff on east side of 101

A suspected shoplifter running from Walmart employees went over a very steep embankment on the east side of Highway 101 this afternoon.

The woman fell about 50 feet down and was injured. She told police officers that she probably broke an ankle. At that point the county-wide rope rescue team was activated.

Fire-rescue personnel with rope rescue skills responded from Yachats, Waldport, Seal Rock, Toledo and Newport. Depoe Bay fire rescue provided back-up coverage for Newport area 9-1-1 calls during the rescue.

An elaborate and high mechanical advantage rope pulley system was quickly configured, attached to several fire rescue rigs. The rescue basket was deployed over the side and soon was about sixty feet down to where the woman had been stablized. On signal from down below, the long gradual haul up was started. A few minutes later the woman was back up to road level, and was quickly loaded aboard an awaiting ambulance. She was transported to PCH where she’ll undergo a head-to-toe medical evaluation.

Meanwhile, police officers examined the woman’s Walmart bag and its contents. Initial reports from the store indicated that she and her male companion had purchased some items in the store but then produced other items from the store that they claimed they had already purchased and for which they wanted a refund. When it was clear that store clerks were on to them, employees say the two ran out the door heading east toward the highway. After crossing the highway, both jumped the guard rail and began sliding down a very steep embankment. Arriving police officers caught up with the male and soon had him in the back of a patrol car headed for the county jail. The woman was found on a slight ledge down about sixty feet. As indicated, it took a while to get her back up to the road.

Charges against the man and woman are pending.

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