Purchase Story

Maryland Woman Convicted of Theft During Cleanup of 2016 Flood

A 35-year-old Taneytown, Maryland, woman has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for the theft of jewelry worth over $6200 from an Ellicott City antiques store during the cleanup in the aftermath of a July 2016 flood.

Melissa Lynn Poole entered an Alford plea before Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone on September 28. An Alford plea is a guilty plea that a defendant makes as part of a plea bargain without actually admitting guilt but conceding that the state has sufficient evidence to convict.

Howard County Assistant State’s Attorney Natasha Blount told the court that between September 1 and October 20, 2016, the disaster restoration firm Servpro was contracted by the Ellicott City Partnership to assist merchants in cleanup and repair efforts. Poole was a Servpro employee assigned for several weeks to Attic Antiques ’n Things, located at 8241 Main Street.

Shortly before the store reopened in late October 2016, the proprietor noticed that several items of jewelry were missing, including a $1200 Tissot watch. Howard County police investigators subsequently discovered that many of the items had been pawned by Poole at Westminster and Frederick, Maryland, pawnshops between September 21 and October 6.

Judge McCrone sentenced Poole to five years, suspending all but 30 days, which she will serve over the next 15 weekends. Upon her release, she will be placed on three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $1200 restitution for the watch, which was never recovered.

Originally published in the November 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest

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