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.
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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.