News and Tribune

September 18, 2013

Active meth lab found in car in Walmart parking lot

Lab discovered after suspects accused of shoplifting

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — An active methamphetamine lab was found in a car at the Grant Line Road Walmart Tuesday afternoon, after the car was linked to two people who had earlier shoplifted in the store, New Albany police reported.

Robert Beech, 44, Somerset, Ky., and Lacy Tompkins, 28, Nandy, Ky., were each charged Wednesday in the incident during a hearing in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1.

Police were contacted by the retailer’s loss prevention department about 2:30 p.m. after Beech and Tompkins had been seen shoplifting tools, NAPD Maj. Keith Whitlow said.

When the first officer arrived on the scene, a loss prevention official pointed out Beech and Tompkins, who were leaving the store.

When the officer ordered them to stop, they each took off running, Whitlow said.

Tompkins was caught in the parking lot, and Beech was taken into custody moments later after he had ran from the parking lot to the entrance of nearby Community Park.

Whitlow said police were able to link them to a Chevy Impala in the Walmart parking lot.

During a search of the vehicle, police reported locating an operating methamphetamine lab and related precursors, including drain cleaner, lithium batteries and coffee filters.

A hypodermic needle and a white-powdery substance were also found, Whitlow said.

Beech has been charged with possession of methamphetamine, a class B felony; possession of precursors, unlawful possession of syringe and theft, all class D felonies; and class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.

Tompkins faces the same charges, except the syringe possession is classified as a C felony.