Benton Harbor woman gets jail time for Niles Lowe’s theft

Published 1:33 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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NILES — A Benton Harbor woman who took part in a theft last year from the Niles Lowe’s was sentenced to jail Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

Fawnette Desiree Scott, 48, of Benton Harbor, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree retail fraud and assault and battery and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for two days served and $849.93 in fines, costs and restitution.

The incident occurred March 20, 2023 at the Lowe’s in Niles Township. Scott and her co-defendant, Kotina Atkins, also of Benton Harbor, stole items from the store. Atkins was sentenced last July to 270 days in jail and fines, costs and restitution. Both had charges of unarmed robbery dismissed.

Monday, Scott apologized to the court and to the store and to the employee she pushed in the encounter. “I want to apologize to the court and the employee,” she said. “No one deserves to deal with my anger … I take full responsibility, I lost my job, my car and my home. I let my kids down and myself down. I lost so much for so little.”

Scott said she wasn’t there “mentally” that day and had never assaulted anyone before. “They were profiling me from the beginning in the store because of who I was with and I was unaware of who she was,” she said. “I never wanted to hurt her, that was out of character for me, that’s not me.”

Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith noted that Atkins’ criminal record was well known to the court and asked why both women were coming to the Niles Lowe’s when they live in Benton Harbor and there’s a Lowe’s in that city.

Judge Smith said she gave Scott a smaller jail term since there was a 10 year gap in criminal convictions before this incident. “Even though you had a gap, you had some history before and I’m troubled by the assault and battery part of the incident,” she said.