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January 25, 2013

Florida woman, 67, arrested in robbery

NEW CASTLE — A Florida woman who allegedly helped herself to cash register money at Wal-Mart is in the Lawrence County jail.

Sonia Russ, 67, of Fort Lauderdale, is being held on $1 million bond on charges of robbery, theft, false identification to law enforcement and harassment.

Union Township police said she is wanted on warrants for similar incidents in  Pennsylvania and Florida.

An employee of the State Street Wal-Mart told police she saw Russ in the store around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday. She said  she recognized her from a bulletin sheet that identified Russ as a suspect accused of taking money from several different Wal-Mart stores.

The worker said she followed Russ to a cash register and notified the store manager. The manager then allegedly saw Russ take $320 from the cash register while the clerk was distracted, police said.

The manager told police she confronted Russ who was holding the handful of cash. Police were told Russ tried to leave the store, but the manager stepped in front of her to block the door. Russ then shoved the manager.

When police arrived, Russ told them her name was Maria. She refused to give her last name and said she had taken a bus to Wal-Mart from New York, police reported.

 An officer told her he was investigating a robbery and that she was the suspect.

The Wal-Mart manager told the officer the woman was Sonia Russ, who has several different aliases. She said  Russ and several of her family members have allegedly taken thousands of dollars from Wal-Mart stores.

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