DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Brazen Thief Drove Car Into Home Depot

Patrons scattered as woman pulled off 9 AM heist

8/20 UPDATE: Braswell was arrested today on an assortment of charges and is locked up in lieu of $58,000 bond.

AUGUST 18--Usually, when someone decides to drive their car into a Home Depot for some thieving, they have the good sense to do it when the retailer is closed.

Not Gwendolyn Braswell.

The 42-year-old Alabama woman, cops say, was behind the wheel of a Pontiac Sunfire that drove into a Home Depot Friday morning. The bizarre incident was recorded by surveillance cameras inside the store in Trussville, a Birmingham suburb.

Police today identified Braswell as the suspect in the August 14 theft, and asked the public for help in determining her whereabouts. Braswell is facing multiple charges, including burglary, criminal mischief, and theft.

Cops believe that Braswell (seen in the adjacent mug shot) had first staged merchandise in the store before returning in the 2000 Pontiac to pick up the goods (a leaf blower and a dehumidifier) around 9 AM.

After backing in through the store’s front sliding doors--which were clipped by the Pontiac--Braswell navigated her way down an aisle, but not before plowing into a display and scattering customers.

Investigators connected Braswell to the brazen heist thanks to witnesses who took down the Pontiac’s license plate and recorded video. Cops say Braswell used the vehicle without the owner’s permission.

Braswell’s rap sheet includes a burglary conviction and a late-May arrest for possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia. The drug case is pending.