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A Walmart near St. Louis was evacuated after workers allegedly caught a shoplifting suspect cooking meth while waiting for police in a detention room.
Walmart security detained a 32-year-old woman on suspicion of shoplifting Thursday night, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The woman allegedly tried to walk out of the store with cosmetics and a purse that she didn't pay for.
Security officers took the woman to the store's loss-prevention office, where she was to wait for police. That's when she apparently decided to make productive use of her time.
The woman, who was not identified because charges are pending, allegedly used a 20-ounce soda bottle in her purse to cook meth while she waited for police to arrive, investigators said.
Call a "one-pot" batch of meth, the woman's attempted soda-bottle chemistry project is actually an example of a new trend in cooking small quantities of meth for personal use, police told the Post-Dispatch. "There are lots of one-pot cooks, but taking it into Walmart is very unusual," one officer told the paper.
When Walmart staff saw what the woman was doing, they evacuated the store as a precaution. "It had the potential to be flammable or blow up at any time," police said.
Firefighters wearing gas masks allegedly found meth-making chemicals in the woman's car. No explosion took place, no one was hurt, and the 24-hour Walmart reopened to shoppers a few hours later.
Police arrested the Walmart shoplifting suspect and her male companion. Drug charges are likely after chemical tests confirm the substance in the soda bottle was meth.
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