An alleged shoplifter fleeing from SouthPark Mall Thursday night took a dramatic escape route -- she swam across a retention lake on mall property.
Police said they aren't certain why the Cleveland woman didn't just run around the pond.
She was apprehended minutes later -- with soggy bags of merchandise -- in the wooded area across Howe Road.
Police were called to the mall about 8:20 p.m. after three alleged shoplifters were spotted.
While officers followed the path of the swimming suspect, others noticed a car with occupants who appeared very interested in what was going on.
Police stopped the car near Macaroni Grill and found stolen merchandise inside, a report said.
Three people -- including two dry suspects from Maple Heights and the swimming Cleveland woman -- were arrested and could face charges of receiving stolen property or theft.
Police brought bio-hazard bags to the site for the wet items that may have been contaminated in the pond water.