Police and prosecutors in Portage, Indiana appear to have a rather draconian version of a criminal code where every minor offense begins with a felony and goes up from there. We previously saw how a Walmart cleaning lady was charged with a felony for eating Oreo cookies at a story. Now, the Portage police and prosecutors are seeking a felony conviction against this couple for sneaking into a zombie movie and not paying the $6.75 ticket price.
Lendsey Harbin, 49, and Delilha Harbin, 40, had just watched the movie “Snitch” when they left theater #13 and entered theater #15 to watch “Warm Bodies.” The move was caught by two off-duty Portage police officers who said that Harbin stood out in his “very colorful clothing, white vest, white dress pants, and a bright red shirt.” The officers found them in the theater and waited for previews to end and for the movie to start. They then arrested the couple.
The police said that the couple confessed to having snuck into movies before — showing that their legal judgment is just about as bad as their cinematic judgment. They reportedly said that they were at a funeral all day and were not “thinking correctly.” Nothing like a zombie movie after a funeral.
Once again, I fail to understand how a $13 theft becomes a felony as more than a couple bags of Oreos becomes a felony in Portage, Indiana. I shudder to think what folks get for car theft in the city.
Source: Huff Post
33 thoughts on “Indiana Couple Charged With Felony For Sneaking Into Zombie Movie”
The Washington state legislature has WAY too much time on its hands.
We have had a rash of a new kind of thief in this part of the country.
A married couple crime duo broke into my rented storage unit and stole some of my stuff. They caught the couple not long after that. They were stealing items from storage units that could be resold quickly at flea markets. The detective told me they were taking truckloads of stuff out of state, meeting professional flea market vendors in out of the way places such as vacant parking lots and making a cash transaction. He said tracing the stuff was next to impossible because the thieves never knew the buyer’s name or where they were from.
The district attorney sent me a form to be filled out and notarized. They wanted a list of everything I could determine was missing, and the cost of those items new at the present time. They do not handle it like the IRS and make you discount it to used thrift store price. One of the items stolen was my deceased grandson’s large scale electric train set we set up around the tree every Christmas. I had a choice of listing the price I paid for the item originally, or what it would cost if I paid full undiscounted retail for it today. Whichever was the higher of the two prices. Unfortunately, I could not put a price on the sentimental value of the train…..it would have looked like this year’s Defense Department’s appropriation.
The prosecution wants that list of values in order to determine just which level of felony to charge them with. The assistant DA told me the total value of stolen items was running into serious money by the time everything was added up. My own list is $3,000 and still growing as go through looking for missing items.
I gather that theft from storage units has become a popular pastime for petty thieves. They rent the cheapest unit, usually a 5’x5′ unit the size of a small closet for a single month, usually using a fake ID. That gives them the gate access code. They go into the storage facility in the middle of the night and begin cutting locks off doors and stealing what pickers call “smalls.” Stuff that can be easily moved at a flea market. The ones that took stuff from us selected only items that could not be traced. They passed over two portable sewing machines and some electronics, even though they had to literally step over those because they were in the door. Those items had serial numbers on them. They sprayed one of the CCTV cameras with black paint, but overlooked the other six cameras because it was dark and did not see them. They broke into dozens of units in two counties before they were caught.
They are still in jail, since the judge set their bail really high. I think one reason was for their own safety. They stole so many family heirlooms of great sentimental value, some of these mountain folk may go looking for them, squirrel rifle or axe handle in hand.
Michael Val wrote:
Cops have discretion. They didn’t have to arrest them. Those cops made a choice.
You bring up a good point. And this is at the heart of having these petty thefts as felony crimes. A couple thoughts to consider.
At what point does discretion become so prevalent, that many felony crimes are not prosecuted by the police? Could it be the case (I don’t know) but if an assault carries the same force as this minor theft (a class D Felony) would the police be frowned upon because they let so many assaults go unprosecuted?
What would happen if the victim insisted upon a prosecution and the police did not act upon it? If it happened a lot it would lead to accusations of them not performing their duty
It is these reasons and those you mention that I feel this type of crime should not be a felony and either be codified as a Misdemeanor or Gross Misdemeanor. The latter being more subject to legitimate discretion in prosecution. I personally have reservations on often declining to make charges on felony offenses as it leads to an erosion of the process. But then again making petty thefts felony offenses is an erosion of the significance of Felony to begin with.
Too bad this couple weren’t off duty cops . The whole thing would have been laughed off by these petty minded cops that brought on the arrest.
“White guilt unchained 2”
In your case ignorance and disingenuousness unchained.
It is ignorant from you because it is a meme you repeat time and again when people bring racism into the discussion. Understand, ignorance as opposed to stupidity. Stupidity, which you don’t suffer from, is the inability to understand concepts and a lack of the kind of general information available to the average person. Ignorance, however, is the inability to process information that falls outside of previous beliefs, or in other words the lack of an open mind. This “white guilt” thing isn’t prejudice on your part since you avowedly are tight with people of color.
What it is though is you letting your political philosophy, libertarian I presume, get in the way of evidence. From a libertarian point of view we can all equally succeed based on our own merits if we try hard enough. That some don’t clearly succeed is thus their responsibility, not the fault of society. Since your whole outlook on the world is imbued with this view, then of course being Black has nothing to do with this woman’s situation. That is ignorant and a putative refutation with no evidence behind it.
Notice though that I also said you were being disingenuous. Inherent in your statement, as gleaned from all the comments I’ve seen from you here on politics, is your stereotyping of those you see as “Liberals”. I won’t even go into the incorrectness of your classification of may people here in that simplistic manner, because frankly your commentary has never been one that brings facts to bear, so the effort isn’t worth it. However, it doesn’t escape anyone that you consider this a “jab” at those you classify this way. The “jab”, however, is not a direct one, though in your case it seems heartfelt. It is a disingenuous one done with the belief that it doesn’t leave you open to return fire since you could always claim misunderstanding of your words.
You present yourself here as a open and tolerant soul, but I think you essentially are a very angry man, without the honesty, or the skills to present your anger towards those you consider “liberals” cohesively and directly.
Darren, I appreciate your point that the legislature is at fault for enacting such a draconian law. I don’t see that the police are automatons in this however. Cops have discretion. They didn’t have to arrest them. Those cops made a choice.
Here’s one you’ll get a kick out of. Washington has some strange laws when it comes to theft. In general theft depends on value. Gross misdemeanor for $750 $5000. Except as follows which have their own particular laws:
Access Device (credit card / pin )
Metal Wire from a Public Utility
Search and Rescue dog that is on duty (what brought this on I’ll never know)
Loaned or leased property
Beverage Crates (10 or more)
Flora from public highway right of ways
Rocks from lands under mining claim
Books from public libraries
Defrauding an inkeeper (unbelievably, a class B felony if > $75 )
Ski lift services
Motor Vehicle Fuel
Cable Television Services
Unauthorized recording of Movies at theaters
Native American Artifacts
Native American Burial Items
and on, and on and on.
White Guilt Unchained 2.
and yet dick cheney still walks among us. there ain’t no justice.
In our state, theft up through $499 is a misdemeanor. $500 to $1,000 is the lowest class of felony. We have felony charges in steps, with Class A being the worst, such as premeditated murder.
My, my, my…if I can’t afford to go to the movies I don’t go…how stupid of me. I should just sneak in…I’m sure you guys would fight for me…right?
While I think the punishment is ridiculous it is the law. Perhaps someone should change the law. I think a more appropriate punishment would be scrubbing the bathrooms for a month. No one likes to do that job.
In their mugshots this poor couple look Undead. Isn’t that a reason to dismiss the case?
Here is the Indiana statute:
Theft; receiving stolen property
Sec. 2. (a) A person who knowingly or intentionally exerts unauthorized control over property of another person, with intent to deprive the other person of any part of its value or use, commits theft, a Class D felony. However, the offense is a Class C felony if:
(1) the fair market value of the property is at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); or
(2) the property that is the subject of the theft is a valuable metal (as defined in IC 25-37.5-1-1) and:
(A) relates to transportation safety;
(B) relates to public safety; or
(C) is taken from a:
(i) hospital or other health care facility;
(ii) telecommunications provider;
(iii) public utility (as defined in IC 32-24-1-5.9(a)); or
(iv) key facility;
and the absence of the property creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to a person.
This is not the fault of the police. The legislature in Indiana chose to make thefts of this kind a felony charge. What are the police to do? They cannot make a misdemeanor out of a felony any more than they can make a felony out of a misdemeanor. They can only charge for what the probable cause fits the offense.
Of course it would be good for the legislature to make petty theft misdemeanor. I am all for that. Put all due pressure on the legislature to fix this draconian charge.
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