By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Officers with the Picayune Police Department recently investigated a number of cases that involved shoplifting, drug offenses and traffic violations.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said officers worked a case on Friday that involved a woman using an 11-year-old boy to help her steal items from the local Wal-Mart.
Magri said officers were called out to the store just after 2 p.m. in reference to a woman who was caught stealing items from the store, identified as 41-year-old Milca Willis of 357 Peters Rd., Poplarville. When officers arrived, they spoke to a loss prevention employee who stated he saw Willis attempting to conceal a number of items in her purse, Magri said. He said the investigation showed she had an 11-year-old boy hand her items that she would put in her purse.
After putting the items in her purse, Willis attempted to leave the store without paying for the items, Magri said.
The items totaled $290 and included clothing, DVDs, CDs, Wii console games, air gun ammunition, perfume and Easter candy, according to the arrest report.
Willis was charged with shoplifting second and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Magri said.
On March 27, in a separate case, officers arrested 42-year-old Jill Cantrelle of 36 Old Creek Rd., after she was seen by an off-duty officer driving in a careless manner along Memorial Boulevard that almost caused an accident, Magri said. On duty officers located Cantrelle at Wal-Mart, where she had entered the store and was found at the Customer Service Desk, Magri said.
Magri said as the officers spoke with Cantrelle, she appeared to be intoxicated so the officer escorted her back to her vehicle. The officer asked if she had taken any medication or consumed any alcohol, to which Cantrelle said no, but as she pulled out her wallet when asked for her driver’s license the officer noticed two pills later identified as Methadone in her wallet, Magri said.
A search of her purse found another Methadone and a Xanax, Magri said. After submitting to a field sobriety test, Cantrelle was charged with DUI other and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Magri said.
On March 29, an officer patrolling Memorial Boulevard conducted a stop on a vehicle for no seatbelt. Magri said 23-year-old Lamanuel Trotter of 100 N. Lewis Circle, Apt. B was behind the wheel. As the officer spoke with Trotter, he appeared to be nervous and the officer noticed the odor of marijuana on him, prompting the officer to ask him to get out of the vehicle, Magri said. He said prior to a search of the vehicle Trotter informed the officer that a gun was under the driver’s seat.
The officer found a loaded Smith and Wesson 9 mm hand gun under the seat and found a small container with marijuana inside it sitting on top of $200 worth of cash on the driver’s seat, Magri said. Another $200 in cash was found in a visor of the vehicle and a bottle of gin was found in the rear seat, Magri said. In the trunk was a mason jar containing three bags of marijuana, Magri said.
Trotter’s driver’s license also was found to be expired, leading him to be charged with driving while license suspended, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle and possession of bonded whiskey, Magri said. He said the cash and gun found in the search were seized.
On March 18, officers came into contact with 27-year-old Albert Russell of 961 Caesar Rd., after they were called to a civil disturbance on Weems Street, Magri said. He said officers arrived and spoke with the complainant who said a man, later identified as Russell, came to her home demanding $70 for drugs she allegedly purchased from him. After she denied such a purchase and therefore payment, he pulled a gun on her and told her if she called the police she would be shot, Magri said. The complaint told the officer that she suspected he had drugs in his car and that it was not the first time he had harassed her, Magri said.
A description of Russell’s vehicle was provided, and based on that description the vehicle was spotted two hours later driving near Weems Street, Magri said. The officer caught up with the vehicle and came into contact with Russell, finding his driver’s license to be suspended, Magri said.
A search of his person found $198 in cash in his front pocket and in the vehicle the officer found two plastic bags with five Hydrocodone pills each, Magri said. He said Russell was charged with driving while license suspended and possession of a controlled substance.
On Saturday officers patrolling Main Street noticed a south-bound vehicle with a Louisiana tag that was expired, Magri said. A stop was conducted and during that stop the driver, 24-year-old Cray Espat of 3069 Effie St., Slidell, La., acted in a nervously, Magri said.
Consent to search the vehicle was granted and in the search the officer detected the odor of marijuana coming from the back seat of the car, leading to a search of the trunk, Magri said. He said in the trunk the officer found a bag of marijuana, leading Espat to be charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Also on Saturday officers were sent to Wal-Mart in reference to shoplifting. Magri said officers arrived to speak with the loss prevention employee, who had 30-year-old Daniel Balentine of 865 Orchard St. Slidell in custody. The Wal-Mart employee advised the officer that Balentine had been seen stealing a $12 pair of sunglasses, leading him to be charged with shoplifting, Magri said.
During a search of Balentine the officer found 18 schedule IV nerve pills of unknown brand in his front pocket and $198 in cash, Magri said. Balentine was charged with possession of a controlled substance and the cash in his pocket was seized, Magri said.