Repeat shoplifter faces jail sentence

October 7, 2015
Laurie Bell with her attorney, Douglas Stevenson.

Laurie Bell with her attorney, Douglas Stevenson.

By Allison Scarbrough. Contributing Editor.

LUDINGTON — A 50-year-old Ludington woman faces serving six months up front of a one-year discretionary jail sentence after pleading guilty in 51st Circuit Court Wednesday, Oct. 7, to first-degree retail fraud and second-offense habitual offender.

As part of her plea agreement, Laurie Lynne Bell, of 408 N. James St., Apt. 3, will also be ordered to undergo substance abuse and mental health treatment and pay $310 in restitution unless the items she stole have been recovered.

She was arrested last May by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office after stealing items from Walmart in Pere Marquette Township.

Sentencing guidelines for her conviction are 5-28 months, and her habitual offender status elevates the maximum to seven and half years, said Judge Susan K. Sniegowski. Her sentence will run concurrently to a probation violation term.

Bell testified that she placed items, such as rugs, on the bottom of a shopping cart and took them from the store. She said she paid for her groceries but not the other items.

Sniegowski noted that Bell has previous shoplifting convictions in Mason and Muskegon counties, as well as a delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance conviction in Mason County.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 17 at 3 p.m.