Driven by their heroin addiction, a man and a woman stole a television set from Beiter's Home Center in South Williamsport on Wednesday and again on Thursday, according to borough police.
Shortly after the store opened at 9 a.m. Friday, the woman, Elicia Nicole McQuown, waited, as she had the two previous days, outside in a getaway car while her alleged accomplice, Joseph E. Walter, walked in and allegedly grabbed a third television, police said.
However, this time store employees stopped him and when they did, the 35-year-old man became combative and unruly, police said.
Walter, of 331 Locust St., was detained until police arrived at the store, 560 Route 15, to take him into custody. McQuown, 28, of the the same address, fled the scene, but she was nabbed minutes later by city police after they stopped her car in front of City Hall.
Police allege Walter and McQuown conspired together to steal television sets, which they sold on the street to purchase heroin.
Walter, who is on state parole for shoplifting, has been on the run since Wednesday when he fled in a vehicle after seeing his parole officer. A warrant had been issued for Walter's arrest because of his failure to report to the officer, police said.
At their arraignment before District Judge Gary A. Whiteman late Friday afternoon, both Walter and McQuown admitted they were herion addicts and both said they had used the drug Thursday night. Walter has been charged with shoplifting, receiving stolen property, simple assault, conspiracy and disorderly conduct while McQuown faces charges of conspiracy, receiving stolen property and shoplifting.
Walter claimed Beiter employees "had me in a choke hold. I understand I was stealing their stuff and that I was wrong...."
Whiteman told the man "You fled from your parole officer on Wednesday. You're not fleeing from me. Bail is half-a-million dollars."
The judge went on to explain to Walter that bail served two purposes: To assure the defendant will appear for his next hearing and to protect the public.
"Now (all of a sudden) you're boxing at Beiter's," the judge said.
Walter then made the flippant remark "I've seen rapists get off on $35,000 bail."
"It doesn't happen here, not in this courtroom. It's not going to fly here," Whiteman snapped back, raising his voice a notch or two.
Whiteman then lowered his voice as he began to address the issue of bail with McQuown, a mother of a 6-month-old son and already out on $80,000 bail for her alleged involvement in a city burglary in the 2600 block of West Third Street in mid-September.
McQuown cried during much of the proceedings. She said that after she was "clean for six months, it only took three days to relapse."
"I did a bag (of heroin) last night," she told Whiteman.
"I know I messed up. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm trying to spend as much time with my son," she added.
Whiteman set the woman's bail at $75,000. Both she and Walter were then taken to the Lycoming County Prison since neither one could post bail.