A Walterboro police officer responding to reports of a couple stealing candy suckers from Walmart found something bigger cooking in their vehicle Monday: meth.
According to an incident report from Walterboro Public Safety, a loss-prevention employee for Walmart accused 35-year-old Alvin Lee Walling of Buffalo Lane of grabbing a bag of candy and walking out without paying for it.
A police officer responded about 4:50 p.m. to the 2110 Bells Highway location and saw the Walmart employee struggling with Walling in the parking lot.
The employee told police that Walling and the woman he was with, 25-year-old Kelsie Lynn Ammons of Sunshine Lane, had been in and out of the store that afternoon and that they might have stashed stolen items inside their vehicle. The worker added that Ammons appeared to be wearing stolen clothing.
According to Walterboro police spokeswoman Elizabeth Boineau, the officer found empty sucker wrappers in Ammons' purse, then checked the vehicle.
The officer saw "what appeared to be an open container of alcohol," the report said. Upon further inspection, however, the bottle "appeared to be a meth cook in progress."
Boineau didn't want to discuss the details of what was found in the car or what kind of portable meth-making device was being used. But it was serious enough that a Colleton County Fire-Rescue hazardous-materials team responded to "decontaminate" Ammons.
"They basically had to take her clothes and put them in secure bag to be disposed of," fire-rescue Director Barry McRoy said. "They pretty much hosed her off, then (the police) took her to jail."
Walling and Ammons each were arrested on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration was tasked with further investigating the case.
The incident report said the meth was suspected to be for personal consumption.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or on Twitter at @offlede.