Two women found guilty in shoplifting scheme at Batesville store
By Emily D. Williams
Judge Bill McKenzie found two defendants guilty of a shoplifting scheme after a short trial during Batesville Municipal Court Wednesday.
Tabatha Pittman, 206 James St., Batesville, and Courtney Ridgeway, 1749 Morrow Rd., Courtland, were found guilty of taking unpaid items from Burke’s, apparently with the help of a store employee, Katrina Hall, who has been charged with embezzlement and referred to the grand jury.
A third defendant, Patsy H. Bellar, 2725 Barnacre Rd., Batesville, had her shoplifting charge remanded to the files. She agreed to never go back to any Burke’s stores.
Testimony from Tora Harris, a loss prevention officer from Burkes, presented video evidence showing a number of transactions conducted by Hall and involving Pittman and Ridgeway, who apparently paid for some items but left with additional merchandise for which they did not pay.
Harris said she received a call from the store manager after a tip from a store employee who noticed a transaction that, “didn’t look right.”
Harris said it was the October 6 transaction made between Hall and Pittman that really caught their eyes.
The video shows Hall getting several items out of the holding closet and putting them on the counter for Pittman. Hall rings up two items worth $23 but puts $100 worth of items in the bag, including two pairs of pants, a hoodie and shirts.
(Hall was not in the courtroom Wednesday.)
An August 26 video showed Hall bagging a pair of shoes for Pittman but not ringing them up on the register.
An August 23 video showed an estimated $150 worth of items conveyed to Pittman, with no payment made.
Another video the same day shows Ridgeway paying for a $5.34 photo frame, but receiving items put in the bag estimated at $88.90, along with $100 cash back.
An August 24 video showed Hall take a receipt from the register she saved from a previous customer and give Ridgeway a false return worth $54.49.
Harris and Detective George Williford both testified Hall admitted to all of the transactions and false returns and cash back.
“Is there any reason Hall would be helping these ladies?” McKenzie asked.
Harris said Hall admitted they would half the money or some of the items were for her.
Williford also testified Hall admitted to giving Ridgeway and Pittman items and cash and her mother $18 back in a refund.
After listening and viewing all evidence the judge asked the defendants, “Would you like to testify?”
Neither wanted to testify.
“The court has listened and reviewed the evidence and is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt you two are guilty of shoplifting,” the judge said.
“Just because an employee is involved does not exempt you. It’s bad dealing,” said McKenzie.
Both were fined $1,131.00
Lesia Tunson, 4 Courtney Village, Courtland, had a shoplifting case continued. She told the judge she had Joe Morgan as her lawyer.
Jasmine Hawkins, 4834 CR 220, Water Valley, entered a guilty plea to shoplifting from Wal-Mart and was fined $1,131.00.
Ashlie P. Ellis, 185 6th St., Crowder, paid all of her fines of $3,286 in full prior to court for shoplifting (second) and old fines that have been due since August 2013.
A mandatory jail sentence is imposed after a second shoplifting conviction.
Ellis was not in court.
Howard Nunaley, 311 Arizona, Batesville, failed to appear to answer domestic violence-simple assault. Fox Bonding was notified.
Brad Neth, 122 Dell St., Batesville, entered a not guilty plea to domestic violence-simple assault. A trial was set for January 15.
Nash Griffin, 1056 Henderson Rd., Batesville, entered guilty pleas to disorderly conduct-failure to comply and shoplifting from Wal-Mart. He was fined $1,763.00.
John P. Troy II, 329 CR 403, Oxford, entered guilty pleas to simple possession of controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and careless driving. He was given credit for the five days he spent in jail and was fined $712.
After a plea agreement, Greggory D. Smith, 601 E. Lee St., Sardis, entered the city’s work program for 49 days in lieu of paying $2,124 for contempt of court-old fines with six months suspended jail sentence.
Charlie Tuminello, 4221 Sardis Lake Dr., Batesville, had a case continued for DUI-first (BAC .11), open container and improper equipment. He told the judge he would be represented by attorney Jeff Padgett.
Roderick Sanford, 1303 Hentz Rd., Pope, had a DUI-second amended to a DUI-first (at the officer’s request) and careless driving. He was fined $1,442.00.
“You need to take alcohol out of your budget,” the judge said.
Willie Harris, 497 Greg Taylor Rd., Courtland, entered a not guilty plea to DUI, running a stop sign and driving while license suspended. A trial was set for January 8.
Johnathan Smith, 14050 Hwy. 35 South, Batesville, entered a guilty plea to DUI, open container and improper equipment. He was fined $1,246.
Demetrius Williams, 127 Jackson St., Batesville, was fined $1,396 for DUI, expired tag, no driver’s license and no proof of insurance.
Steven J. Cooper, 72 Tenant Lane, Ringgold, Ga., paid his fines of $632 in full prior to court for false information.
Clint Childress, 3051 Private Rd. 7, Oxford, entered a guilty plea to selling or giving alcohol to a minor and entered a not guilty plea to open container. A trial was set for January 8.