A California woman was handed a probation sentence for a string of brazen shoplifting episodes earlier this spring that included more than $7,000 worth of Victoria’s Secret underwear. But a fugitive warrant means she could stay in jail for up to a month longer.
Harmonie Jewel Taylor, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court to two felony counts of first-degree theft, admitting she stole thousands of dollars’ worth of underwear from the lingerie chain at the Rogue Valley Mall, as well as more than $1,000 from Medford Safeway stores last April.
Most of the merchandise was returned, according to Deputy District Attorney David Orr, who prosecuted the case.
“When I got it, I thought it was a mistake,” Orr said, describing the $7,100 in bras. “I guess they’re sort of pricey.”
At about 12:30 p.m. April 18, Taylor filled several bags with merchandise and fled the store on foot. Orr said she returned to the store that evening, and was spotted again using a cab.
“It was known that she had left in a cab in the noontime,” Orr said. “We ended up calling Valley Cab about that.”
The cab company told police an employee had driven Taylor from the mall to the Motel 6 on Biddle Road. The motel provided police with her booking information.
Taylor initially tried to provide a false identity, according to Orr.
“She said Harmonie was her sister,” Orr said. During her booking into the jail, staff noted she had “Harmonie” tattooed on her lower back.
Police observed her returning to her motel room using another company’s cab about 8:30 that night, noticing more stolen goods, including shaving razors and Rogaine taken from local Safeway stores.
“She was looking for maximum dollar value in minimum space,” Orr said. “Obviously she didn’t have a personal need for that many bras.”
During the investigation, police learned that Taylor had come to Medford on the bus from San Francisco, booked a room and allegedly stole more than $1,000 from Ulta Beauty on Rossanley in March, according to Orr. That case was dismissed, though she was ordered to repay any remaining restitution in the case.
Taylor has a pending fugitive warrant on a case out of San Francisco. Her court-appointed defense lawyer, Paul Moser, described it as a lower-level robbery charge that Taylor is working through a court program to dismiss. Moser and Taylor described it as a California court program geared toward young offenders.
Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe asked Taylor’s age, thinking the 25-year-old woman seemed old for such a program.
“It’s (for) 18 to 25,” Taylor said. “It’s different when you’re out of foster care in California.”
Following the agreement negotiated by Moser and Orr, Hoppe sentenced Taylor to two years of probation, and gave the state of California 30 days to pick Taylor up on the warrant. Noting that she’s one property crime away from being considered a repeat offender, Hoppe warned Taylor she risks prison if she commits theft in Oregon again.
As of Friday, Taylor remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail. Orr described the time Taylor has spent in jail as unusually long.
“The reason for that was she had that fugitive hold,” Orr said. “That’s the only reason she spent any time in jail.”
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.