Jill Elizabeth Rowell, 44, of Valdese, was convicted of attempted larceny from a merchant by removing anti-theft devices and admitted her habitual felon status during Caldwell County Superior Court on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
The Honorable Lisa C. Bell, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, sentenced Rowell to an active prison term of four to six years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. That prison term will begin when Rowell finishes a current sentence she is serving for similar shoplifting and larceny incidents.
The defendant’s sentence length was enhanced by her habitual felon status from prior convictions for possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (May 2006 and April 2015) and possession of cocaine (July 2011), all in Burke County.
The offense occurred July 14, 2017, when Rowell entered a store in Lenoir with her young child. She collected clothing, designer purses and a large tote bag. She took the items to a secluded area of the store and cut off the security sensors with wire snips. She stuffed the snips and dye packs, clothing and purses into the large tote bag, exiting the store with $1,300 of merchandise.
Store employees followed her out of the store to a waiting vehicle and managed to take the tote bag from her, but she fled the scene in the vehicle.
Officers from Lenoir Police Department and the store were familiar with Rowell from past incidents, and they traced the vehicle registration to her mother in Burke County. In following days, she contacted officers asking them not to prosecute if she paid the store for damages.
The case was investigated by Lt. Mark Barlowe and Sgt. Patrick Moser of Lenoir Police Department. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer C. Mathews prosecuted the case for the State.
CONTACT: Nathan Key