Indiana Couple Charged With Felony For Sneaking Into Zombie Movie

harbinmugsPolice 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”

  1. Them being charged with a felony have nothing to do with their color. Any charge of theft is automatically a D Felony in the STATE of Indiana. The value of the loss has nothing to do with the level of the offense. Theft is blanketed.

  2. One more thought. Why is it that police officers who do such outrageous things never have their identity disclosed? these off duty cops should have their names linked to this story. Their identity is not protected info. But, news outlets never publish this info.

  3. Outrageous. Draconian punishment for minor, nonviolent transgression by poor folks, and slaps on the wrist for white collar crime. The fools running things in that city should be replaced, but I imagine the property owners running the show like things just fine because it’s not their friends and family that face these sorts of punishments.

  4. Who hires these idiot prosecutors and police? I just hope they don’t get a jury of idiots who would convict, based on the say so of the government, a ham sandwich. This shouldnt’ even get beyond grand jury state, that is if the judge isn’t an idiot also.

  5. I wouldn’t give a penny for a zombie movie. I wouldn’t go to one either. I know enough of them already.

  6. If good Americans only knew…

    Just another example of the erosion of our Justice System into that of a totalitarian country. -Mike Spindell

  7. “The move was caught by two off-duty Portage police officers who said that Harbin stood out in his “very colorful clothing”

    So “two off-duty” police officers were just hanging out in a multiplex, chewing the fat and watching the crowd, when they saw this colorfully dressed Black couple, who wet into a second theater, watch the trailers and the arrested them, for the “Felony” of theft of services. Something about this smells badly.

    Was it because the couple was black?
    Was it because the couple was being followed as suspects in another case?
    Was it because these police officers were “moonlighting” at the theater?
    Was it because these police officers were eager to burnish their records?

    All those questions occurred to me when I read the original story, so I read further: Following up from the original sources:

    “Two off-duty cops working security at the Portage 16 IMAX were standing outside theater #13 as “Snitch” was letting out. One officer reported alerting to Lendsey Harbin, 49, due to his “very colorful clothing, white vest, white dress pants, and a bright red shirt.” The second cop advised that he thought the Harbins had previously “attempted to sneak into movies without paying for the tickets.”

    “After the cops could not locate the Harbins in the hallway, they canvassed surrounding theaters and found the couple waiting for “Warm Bodies” to begin. After previews had ended and the movie started, the officers approached the Harbins and requested they exit the theater.”

    “When asked for their ticket stubs, the Harbins came up empty. “I know we done wrong,” said Delilha Harbin, 40. The pair reportedly “advised they had snuck into movies at this movie complex 3 to 4 other times.” The Harbins, who live in nearby Gary, Indiana, also claimed they “were at a funeral all day and just were not thinking correctly.”

    “The duo was “taken into custody without incident” and transported to the Porter County jail, where they were booked on the felony count and later released on their own recognizance.”

    And further,

    “In an email to The Huffington Post, Portage Police Sgt. Keith Hughes said theft of services is the “normal” charge for someone caught sneaking into a movie.

    “I seriously doubt that they will serve any time, but the felony charge is punishable by 1 year or more in jail,” Hughes said in the email.

    Hughes said he suspects the couple’s attorney and prosecutors will work out a plea deal that will not include prison time.”

    So then in the words of LBJ, let us reason together.

    1. The ability to make the “theft of services” of $13.50, a felony with the possibility of one years imprisonment seems to me to be “cruel and unusual puishment” that would befit an oppressive State.

    2. Give what we know of US law enforcement it is likely that the charge here was “living while black”. If it was an elderly white male, myself for instance, the worst thing to happen would have been escorting me out of the theater. Also I usually throw my ticket stubs away because in all the multiplexes I go to you only need them to enter the theater itself, not the individual showing areas.

    3. Given the police Sgt.’s statement even though they will “plea bargain” the case, the couple would need a lawyer. Perhaps the Lawyer’s fee would be $800 to $1,000, which for the average person would be a hardship. If we lived with a better legal system, shouldn’t the DA talk to the couple and work out the deal, ot months later, but relatively quickly.

    4. If Indiana were a “3 strikes you’re out State” and the man/woman had two prior “felony” convictions such as this, could this result in life imprisonment?

    5. I’m uncomfortable with Police Officers “moonlighting” in instances such as this. Law Enforcement Powers theoretically should not be able to be bought by private companies. “Moonlighting” allows this practice and thus the local cineplex can enforce its rules with police powers. Suppose a patron argues too loudly (without threatening) a theater employee because there was not enough butter put on their popcorn? I can see an arrest coming because of the raised, irate voice. This would be inappropriate to my mind. Pay the police a good wage so they won’t have to “moonlight” and forbid it. Police Power, which includes the ability to arrest, should not be open to the highest bidder.

    6. Fially it occurs to me that since they were arrested prior to the start of the second movie the charge should really be “attempted theft of services”
    since the second movie hadn’t begun. The police should have waited at least five minutes into the movie. 🙂

    Just another example of the erosion of our Justice System into that of a totalitarian country.

  8. The issue isn’t the money. The issue is the criminalization of working people. In many places, people with criminal records have their right to vote stolen from them.

    That’s the goal, taking away the right to vote. Inflating charges for petty crimes, minor drug possession and “third strike” nonsense is as much a part of election fraud as is manipulating the voting lists.

  9. Maybe this police department has an arrangement with the local for profit prison? Overcharging seems to be the rule instead of the exception.

  10. Why not burnish your police employment file with all the felony arrests you can? Better chance of promotion, more pay, increased prestige, And your Department is tough on crime. You are the Law. They are just the little people.

  11. I agree with Mel. Maybe they want an all white crowd. Boycott is in order. Maybe the poop in the bag trick at the theatre entrance. You guys know about the poop in the bag trick.

  12. ‘The Police State’ – coming to a theater near you…….

    Don’t miss this arresting thriller that highlights the perverseness of the American legal system. See how the too big to jail financial criminals are rewarded with gifts and gratitude, while non-violent misdemeanors of the poorest of the citizenry are treated as dangers to society. Starring Lloyd Blankfien and Angelo Mozilo as the lifelong financial criminals who buy their way into the hearts and minds of the political class to curry favor. Also starring a cast of thousands who are arrested indiscriminately for minor offenses and put behind bars for long terms because of their lack of political connections. .

  13. Almost the entire price of a movie ticket gets sent to the distributor for the first few weeks of a movies run. The theater really exists on concession sales. Smart operators don’t care that you sneak into a movie as long as you by some pop corn. I’m surprised by this charge & wonder if something else is going on

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