Niles woman jailed for stealing irreplaceable jewelry

Published 9:18 am Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The stolen rings did not have much monetary value.

They were sold for $60 at a pawnshop, according to a Berrien County prosecutor.



However, the rings held significant sentimental value to their owner.

“You took part of their life away and it can’t be replaced,” said Judge Dennis Wiley before sentencing Courtney Rashelle Couty to 90 days in jail on one count of attempted larceny in a building during a hearing Monday in Berrien County Trial Court in Niles.

The 29-year-old Niles woman must also spend two years on probation once she is released from jail.

Assistant Prosecutor Jerry Vigansky said the rings Couty stole were the victim’s wedding band and the victim’s mother’s ring.

The daughter of the victim spoke in court Monday, saying Couty was entrusted with providing help for her ailing parents.

She said one of the rings had been in her mother’s possession for 63 years and that Couty stole both rings on the anniversary of her father’s death.

“They (the rings) might not mean much to anybody, but to my mother they meant a lot,” she said, crying. “She (Couty) was here to help. Instead she just took.”

Couty’s attorney, Shannon Sible, said his client has been struggling with an addiction to heroin and prescription drugs.

“She doesn’t want to be a drug addict and she doesn’t want to be a thief,” he said.

Prior to being sentenced, County apologized for her actions and said she wants to change.

“I don’t want to be this person,” she said.

Couty was also ordered to pay $1,698 in fines and costs. No restitution has been requested, Wiley said.

Also Monday, David Edward Lee, Jr., of Galien, was sentenced to two years in the Michigan Department of Corrections on one count of aggravated domestic violence. The 35-year-old man assaulted the female victim inside of a vehicle near the intersection of Red Bud Trail and US-12 in September. Lee was also ordered to pay $1,958 in fines and costs.