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Empty wallet

Convenience store employees charged with stealing $1,800 from billfold


News Staff Writer

Two Atmore women, former employees of an Atmore convenience store, were arrested last week by officers of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office after an investigation determined they split the proceeds of a wallet that was dropped by a customer and turned in to them by another customer.
Erica Hines, 44, was arrested March 8 and charged with one count of first-degree theft of lost property, a Class B felony. Lawanda Louise Taylor, 43, was taken into custody March 10 and charged with one count of second-degree theft of lost property, a Class C felony.
According to Facebook postings by the victim, the theft occurred around mid-February when he lost his wallet at the Chevron store on Howard Street.
The victimized Atmore resident said he returned to the store as soon as he realized his wallet was missing, unaware that it had been found and turned in by another person. He said the two store clerks told him it had not been turned in to them.
“A customer turned it in immediately, and I came back within minutes, not knowing it was turned in,” he explained. “These two fine citizens had the wallet at this time and lied to me. On video it shows me coming in and the two of them going into the bathroom with my wallet after I left.”
The billfold — minus almost $1,800 in cash — was found the next day, about a block from the store, he said.
“The most important thing in the wallet was a $2 bill my grandfather gave me before he died 22 years ago,” the victim said.
Although the sentimental value of the $2 bill was most important to the Atmore man, an online search shows that similar pieces of currency have sold recently for as much as $2,499 each.
Hines, if convicted, faces a stretch in prison of at least two years but not more than 20 years. Taylor faces, if convicted, a prison term that ranges from one year and one day, to 10 years.
Each woman was released under $10,000 bond on the day of her arrest.