A Lake Havasu City couple was accused of shoplifting from a McCulloch Boulevard grocery store last month, and then allegedly striking a woman with their vehicle as they sped from the scene.

According to police, store employees reported a man identified as Joseph P. Ortega, 35, shoplifting from the store. Ortega allegedly removed a bottle of liquor and a fruit bowl from the business and left without paying for them. A store manager confronted Ortega, who allegedly returned the liquor to her. He then left with his wife, identified as 32-year-old Amber A. Ortega, and their children.

The manager followed them, the report said, and attempted to photograph their license plate as they climbed into their vehicle. According to police, Amber Ortega shifted the vehicle into reverse and struck the manager, shouted profanities at her, and then left the scene. Officers allegedly verified reports from witnesses at the scene with video surveillance footage from the store.

Officers found Joseph and Amber Ortega later that evening, and questioned them. According to the report, Amber Ortega told police the store employee “ran behind her car like a madwoman,” while the vehicle was already in motion. Amber denied hitting the employee with her car, the report said.

Amber Ortega was charged with one felony count of failing to remain at the scene of an accident, and remained in custody at Mohave County Jail without bond as of Monday.

Joseph Ortega was charged with one misdemeanor count of shoplifting.

The store employee suffered only minor injuries, according to the report.


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