MARSHALL — Former Marion County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tina Harris has pleaded guilty on charges of theft following her arrest at this summer at a Walmart in Marshall.
Harris, who denied the theft charge in June while threatening to sue Walmart and Marshall police for false arrest, pleaded guilty Nov. 18 in a Harrison County court to an aggregate charge of theft more than $750 but less than $2,500 after an investigation showed she had been found on six previous shopping trips to bag items she had failed to scan or pay for at Walmart’s self-checkout.
Harrison County District Attorney Reid McCain said the total amount of stolen items from the six instances were added together to make up the Class A misdemeanor theft charge.
“After Tina Harris reported to the Marshall News Messenger (in June) that the allegation of theft was untrue, and that both Walmart and the Marshall Police Department falsified the amount she failed to pay in order to arrest her, further investigation revealed that she had manipulated the self-checkout at Walmart on six previous occasions,” McCain said in a statement. “Walmart surveillance footage documented these thefts from April 23 through June 10.”
According to McCain, Harris was arrested after a Walmart loss prevention officer stopped her for failure to pay for several items she had bagged.
Harris claimed after bonding out of the Harrison County Jail that she had simply forgot to scan a couple packages of drinks on the bottom of her buggy, but video surveillance showed Harris “as she methodically bagged a significant number of items without scanning them. After Harris passed all points of sale, Walmart employees approached her, detained her, and called Marshall Police Department. When officers arrived on scene, Harris refused to take responsibility for her actions. The amount of unscanned items totaled $468.73,” according to police.
The Class A misdemeanor theft charge Harris pleaded guilty to is punishable by up to a year in Harrison County Jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, Harris was sentenced to 15 months probation because of her lack of previous criminal history.
Harris no longer works for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and was replaced by Executive Director Kathy Harper in August.