Police: Officer nearly struck while investigating mall theft

Two men arrested on suspicion of retail theft

MADISON, Wis. - A Madison police officer said he was nearly struck by a car while pursuing two suspects in a shoplifting case at East Towne Mall.

The officer was flagged down Friday afternoon by a security officer to report a theft. The security officer pointed out two suspects in the parking lot, and the police officer said he climbed piles of snow pursuing them.

He said he lost sight of the suspects and then noticed a car driving toward him. He said he raised his hands but the car didn't stop. He said he was nearly struck before the car stopped.

The driver refused to get out of the car but the officer, with help from a retired detective in area, was able to take Nicholas, A. Coplien, of McFarland, into custody, according to police.

Coplien was arrested on suspicion of retail theft and resisting a police officer.

Gary J. Moody, of McFarland, was also in the car, according to police and arrested on suspicion of retail theft, obstructing a police officer, bail jumping and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said about $400 worth of jewelry that had been stolen from Sears, along with drug paraphernalia, were found in the car.

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