Austin County woman attacked by grocery store clerks over $50 bill she found

An Austin County woman wants the people who attacked her inside a grocery store over a $50 bill arrested. 

Betty Smith, 65, a longtime Industry resident, went to Lindemann Grocery Store off State Highway 159 to pick up ice cream and a honeybun for her son on January 15. 


Before making her purchase, she says she found a $50 bill on the floor. 

"I told the cashier, look here, my lucky day!" says Smith. "The woman at the counter says, 'Oh no, you can't leave with that...that might be my friend's money. He was in here earlier.'"

Smith says she was the only customer in the store at the time. As she proceeded to check out, she tells FOX 26 the clerks would not let her purchase the desserts. 

Surveillance video shows Smith trying to leave the business, as clerks stop her at the door. 

"They went to the door and locked me in," says Smith. 

The video shows one female clerk ripping the money out of her hand. As she tries to get it back, another female employee and a male employee shove and restrain her.

"I was scared to death," says Smith.

She also says the woman used racial slurs while telling her she was not allowed to leave. Her son, who has special needs, was outside in the car during the altercation.


Smith then calls her granddaughter, Dezteni Cyrus, on her cell phone to help. 

"She was frantic," says Cyrus. "I rushed out of the shower and put on a robe. They wouldn't let her out. She's a diabetic. I could see where her feet were bothering her...her shoes were across from her...I said, 'y'all have to let her out!'" 

That's when the video shows an Austin County Sheriff's Deputy, who the family says was called by the store clerks, handcuff Cyrus.

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Her mother shows up minutes later and was handcuffed and arrested for allegedly assaulting one of the employees during the altercation. 

Her mother, who chose not to speak on camera at the time of the interview, tells FOX 26 this incident has put her job in jeopardy. 

The family also says while statements from the store clerks were given to the deputy, they were not offered a chance to do the same. 

The manager of Lindemann's tells FOX 26 he was not there at the time of the incident and was called by the employees that night, but not until after the deputy responded. He and the owner say they fired all three employees by the next day and apologized to Ms. Smith for the incident. 

"They offered to help pay bond money and offered to give me the $50 bill, and any support I needed, but I didn't want it," says Smith, a longtime customer of the store. "I feel like when things quiet down, the same thing is going to happen to me again." The woman says she doesn't plan on returning to the store.


Sheriff Jack Brandes released the following statement to FOX 26 Wednesday afternoon: 

On January 15, 2023, at approximately 7:05 p.m., the Austin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Lindemann Store in Industry, Texas for a disturbance in progress. Deputies arrived and conducted an investigation in to the cause of the disturbance. One subject was arrested at the scene who was not initially involved in the original disturbance, but who walked in to the scene later and assaulted a victim. This secondary assault was captured on camera as well. Currently, the statements, videos, body-worn camera video, and all evidence collected has been forwarded to the Austin County District Attorney for consideration of potential charges against various individuals.