Missoula Police were called for a shoplifting in progress Monday afternoon, April 18. A Missoula retail store on Mullan Road reported that a woman had tried to return a $42.60 travel mug that she had pulled off the shelf, but never paid for.

“When police arrived, they had learned that the suspect was actually no longer on scene,” said Missoula Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh. “They spoke to lost prevention employees who reported that an adult female had attempted a fraudulent return in which she was provided cash. Afterwards, it was determined that she had not actually purchased the item she returned, but had simply taken it off the shelf. There was a brief struggle at the entrance of the store between this woman and lost prevention, and she was able to get away.”

The suspect reportedly lashed out at store employees, using her nails to scratch at least one loss prevention officer. That act, turned a theft charge into felony robbery.

“She was taken in to custody for outstanding warrants and then has later added the charge of robbery,” Welsh said. “During the commission of a theft, if there in any threat or infliction of a bodily injury, that raises the stakes, makes it a little more serious and it actually meets the element of robbery.”

Amber Seitz had previously been told not to return to that store, so she also received a misdemeanor trespassing charge as well. Missoula police apprehended her walking down Reserve Street shortly after the robbery occurred. For a $42.60 travel mug, Seitz now faces a minimum two year sentence and a possible $50,000 fine.