Crime

Accused candy snatcher facing 20 years to life over $31 in sweets

JOHN SIMERMAN

THE NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE

Jacobia Grimes
Jacobia Grimes

The price of candy has shot way up for Jacboia Grimes.

A career shoplifter, Grimes faces a possible 20 years to life in prison after he allegedly stuffed $31 worth of candy bars into his pockets at a Dollar General store on South Claiborne Avenue on a December afternoon.

A manager at the store spotted the 34-year-old swiping the merchandise about 2:30 p.m. Dec. 9, and Grimes unloaded his pockets before his arrest, according to a police report.

On Feb. 3, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office chose to charge Grimes under a statute that boosts the alleged candy theft to a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. The statute applies to people who have been convicted of “theft of goods” at least twice before.

Grimes has five prior theft convictions, making him a “quad” offender under the state’s habitual-offender law, and facing 20 years to life behind bars.

In 2010, Cannizzaro’s office secured a conviction against Grimes as a double offender, sending him away on a four-year prison stint. The latest charge upped the stakes further.

Grimes appeared Thursday for arraignment before Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich, pleading not guilty.

“Isn’t this a little over the top?” Zibilich wondered aloud over the threat of a “multiple bill,” an approach that leaves little discretion to a judge.

“It’s not even funny,” the judge said. “Twenty years to life for a Snickers bar, or two or three or four.”

Read more of this story at the New Orleans Advocate's website.

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