Theft spree begins in city

Published 7:32 am Wednesday, August 2, 2006

By By ADAM PRESTRIDGE – special to the standard
A joyride to Escambia County was longer than anticipated for three Montgomery residents following a spree of alleged thefts throughout Atmore and Brewton that landed them behind bars in the Escambia County Detention Center.
According to a spokesperson for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Courtney Smith, 28; Tamela Moore, 26; and Brontina Smith, 27, were all arrested in Atmore and booked in the county jail on various charges ranging from first-degree unlawful possession of marijuana to second-degree theft of property.
Sgt. Eric Suarez with the Brewton Police Department said police received a call just before 5 p.m. Monday from a Winn Dixie employee stating that four credit card-type gift cards had been stolen from the grocery store earlier that day.
Suarez said the four cards the girls handed back to the clerk were ones that had either already been used or were new, inactive cards they apparently swapped without the clerk noticing. The girls never came back and fled the scene with the $400 in gift cards.
When the clerk realized the girls were not coming back, she attempted to credit the money back into the computer system, but to no avail.
Around 4:30 p.m., two of the suspects attempted to pass the stolen American Express cards at the local Winn Dixie store, police said. Within a few minutes, Atmore police officers and an Escambia County Sheriff's Office deputy had the threesome hemmed in on Church Street in front of the Atmore Public Library.
With the three suspects detained, police searched their rental car and found several articles of clothing stolen from Dollar General stores in the county, reports said.
In addition to the stolen goods, it was also discovered that the suspects had marijuana in the vehicle and two open Corona bottles in the front cup holders.
Courtney Smith was charged with felony first-degree unlawful possession of marijuana and third-degree theft of property. He is currently being held at the Escambia County Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.
Moore was charged with felony second-degree theft of property. She has three prior theft of property offenses. She was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana and is being held on a $5,000 conditional bond.
Brontina Smith was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana and third-degree theft of property. She bonded out Tuesday morning.
The case is still under investigation.