Pierce given suspended sentence

CLINTON — A Clinton man caught committing a theft at Kohl's was given a suspended sentence for one felony drug charge and one misdemeanor theft charge.

Travis A. Pierce, 31, 2010 Garfield St., appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court for sentencing for possession of a controlled substance, third offense, a Class D felony; and third-degree theft, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Assistant Clinton County Attorney Amanda Myers recommended the court impose sentences of incarceration not to exceed five years for the felony charge and not to exceed two years for the misdemeanor charge. Myers recommended the sentences run concurrently. She stated Pierce failed to sign up for pretrial release. Myers said Pierce has two recent prior convictions. She also cited the seriousness of the offense, adding she does not believe Pierce is trying to do anything to address the issue.

Defense attorney Eric Dale concurred with the recommendation in the pre-sentence investigation report and asked for a period of probation with a condition of placement at the Residential Corrections Facility. Dale believes community resources have not been exhausted, adding the RCF will provide a structure that will benefit Pierce. He said Pierce is ready and willing to comply with probation. He said Pierce's issues are stemming from substance abuse and that the RCF is the best place for Pierce to address the issues. Dale added Pierce served 65 days in the Clinton County Jail since pre-trial release was revoked. Dale said he was unaware of any disciplinary issues at the Clinton County Jail.

District Court Judge Patrick McElyea ordered a sentence not to exceed five years for one count of possession of a controlled substance, third offense, a Class D felony, and a sentence not to exceed two years for third-degree theft, an aggravated misdemeanor, both be suspended. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently. Fines of $750 and $625 were suspended. Pierce was placed on probation for three years. McElyea ordered conditions of probation to include successful completion of the Residential Corrections Facility, completion of substance abuse and mental health evaluations and completion of any recommended treatment, abstaining from controlled substance and complying with random urinalysis. McElyea determined Pierce does not have the reasonable ability to repay attorney fees not to exceed $1,200 or $600 in jail fees.

"I just want to make sure it's crystal clear this is probably your last chance before going to prison," McElyea said.

According to the affidavit, at 11:18 a.m. April 11, an officer responded to a report of a theft in progress in Kohl's Department Store. The call screen read a Kohl's loss prevention employee watched a white male with a shaved head put a pair of Adidas shoes on his feet and place his old shoes in the Adidas box and return it to the shelf. The loss prevention employee said the suspect placed other items in his pants. The loss prevention employee pointed out Pierce as the suspect. Pierce was wearing a pair of new gray Adidas shoes.

The affidavit states the officer told Pierce the loss prevention employee saw him put items in his pants. He pulled a lighter out of his pocket, at which time a gold watch was visible in his pocket. The loss prevention employee reached onto a shelf and showed the officer an empty watch box she said Pierce placed there after removing the watch. Pierce gave the watch to the loss prevention employee. Pierce asked if he could get his old shoes back. A male employee had an old Adidas box containing an old pair of black shoes. Pierce said they were his shoes.

Pierce removed a package of socks from inside his pants and a green prescription pill bottle with no label. There were six orange pills inside the bottle. Pierce said they were Adderall.

The affidavit states the officer checked and found Pierce had two prior theft convictions and two prior drug possession convictions in Iowa. The officer identified the pills as an amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, a schedule II controlled substance, also known as Adderall.