Flower theft subject pleads guilty


A woman who stole flowers from a local cemetery on Memorial Day pleaded guilty to an amended charge Wednesday in the Champaign County Municipal Court.

According to the court’s website, Shirley A. Jones, 54, of 12172 W. U.S. Route 36, St. Paris, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, during a pretrial hearing.

Jones was originally charged with a first-degree misdemeanor theft charge stemming from conduct that occurred on May 25. On that date, Urbana police were notified of an in-progress theft of flowers from a large city cemetery planter at Oak Dale Cemetery, 319 Patrick Ave.

Using information provided by a witness, police located a suspect vehicle as it was leaving the cemetery. After stopping the vehicle, several new flowers were found on the floorboard of the vehicle, which was occupied by three individuals.

Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell previously said the flowers were valued at $30.

Jones, who was the driver of the vehicle, was identified as the person responsible for the theft and was arrested. A statement filed in the court noted Jones tried to explain that the flowers were going to die anyway and did not know it was against the law to take them.

As part of her sentence, Jones was ordered to pay a $150 fine, serve community control for six months and perform 40 hours of community service at the cemetery. She will also be subject to drug screens and is prohibited from consuming alcohol or drugs of abuse.

A 10-day jail sentence was suspended.

Jones also pleaded guilty last December to disorderly conduct stemming from a Dec. 7, 2014, incident. She was ordered to pay a $100 fine in that case.

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