An Augusta woman was convicted on her third offense of shoplifting on Tuesday and was sentenced to three years in prison, according to the Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Carolyn H. Poe, 58, of Old Waynesboro Road, Augusta, received a 10-year sentence suspended to three years, along with three years of probation.

Poe was accused of stealing several DVDs and fleeing from the Walmart in North Augusta on May 23, 2012, according to Assistant Solicitor Jay Slocum. She had two previous shoplifting arrests in Georgia.

A loss prevention officer in the store saw Poe and her 17-year-old granddaughter taking DVDs and placing them underneath some teddy bears in the shopping cart, Slocum said.

“Just putting stuff in your cart is not a crime,” he said. “It was suspicious because they were hiding them from view.”

The loss prevention officer followed the two women into another section of the store where he saw them remove the DVD discs from their cases, and Poe hide the discs in a pocket on her cargo shorts, Slocum said. They went on to checkout, where they paid for the teddy bears but not the discs.

The loss prevention officer confronted them on their way out and the women fled, Slocum said. Poe’s granddaughter ran ahead, started their truck and picked Poe up in the parking lot before fleeing. Slocum said North Augusta Public Safety officers pulled them over “within seconds.”

Officers were able to obtain surveillance footage of the entire incident, and they found the DVD discs strewn across the seat of Poe’s truck, Slocum said. The DVD cases were still inside the store.

“It was an interesting case – a lot of legal issues that normally don’t come up,” Slocum said, adding that Poe even testified. “The two previous convictions were what made this a much more heavy case. They’re all important and they’re all serious, but shoplifting can land you in some trouble after your third one.”

Shoplifting cases are normally handled in magistrate court, but in South Carolina, a third or subsequent offense is moved up to General Sessions because it carries up to 10 years in prison, Slocum said.

Poe’s granddaughter has been charged in connection with the shoplifting, and her case is pending in North Augusta city court.

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.