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Woman sentenced for stealing handbag

Published 8:46am Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Berrien County Judge Dennis Wiley advised an Indiana woman to rethink her lifestyle before sentencing her to more than a year in prison for stealing a purse from a woman at a Niles department store in March.

Denise Ann Carpenter
Denise Ann Carpenter

“I never thought I would be in a courtroom again in my life,” said a tearful 49-year-old Denise Ann Carpenter, who was sentenced Monday in Niles to 14 months in the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The Granger, Indiana, woman pleaded guilty to one count of larceny in a building and one count of using a financial transaction device without permission. Both charges carry four-year maximum sentences.

According to court documents, Carpenter was in the dairy section of the Niles Wal-Mart when she stole a purse from the female victim’s shopping cart while the victim’s back was turned. Video surveillance shows Carpenter taking the purse.

The victim said her purse contained numerous items, including several credit cards and an iPhone.

Police tracked the iPhone to a location in South Bend, Indiana, where they found Carpenter in possession of the stolen items.

By that time, Carpenter had used the victim’s credit cards 13 times for a total of $2,395, according to court documents.

Assistant Prosecutor Mark Sanford said Carpenter has prior convictions for forgery and theft on her record.

Carpenter said she has been trying to stay clean for the past several years.

“I thought I had turned my life around,” she said.

Wiley reminded Carpenter that she was on parole at the time she committed the offense.

“You just haven’t gotten over the hump yet,” he said.

Also Monday, Jeffrey Lee Davis, 36, of Niles, was sentenced to a year in prison for running away from a police officer in May.

According to court documents, the officer was investigating a possible parole violation by Davis, who fled when he saw the officer coming. Davis pleaded guilty to one count of resisting and obstruction a police officer.


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