Prosecutors Gone Wild? Couple Sneaks Into a Movie, Charged with a Felony

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Have you or your friends ever broken the law by sneaking into a movie that you shouldn’t be going into?  A legal case in pushing the envelope on just how far prosecutors are willing to go to get people into the criminal justice system.  The case, set in Indiana, is also getting flagged as an example of overzealous prosecution possibly serving as a warning to those who even think about engaging in minor infractions of the law.

Lendsey and Delilha Harbin allegedly snuck into the film “Warm Bodies” and were caught by an off-duty police officer.  That’s when their legal problems began.  The couple, as a result of their seemingly harmless decision, is now facing over a year in prison after being charged with a felony.   Even more amazing is that police and prosecutors are determined to see this one through.

The off-duty officer in Portage Indiana said that he noticed the man because of his “very colorful clothing, white vest, white dress pants, and a bright red shirt.”  Of course, he isn’t allowed to say that perhaps he noticed him because he was black.  To our knowledge, there is no record of anyone else being charged with a felony for this sort of thing, and we’re sure that tons of teens of all ethnic backgrounds have tried this before and been caught in the act.

The officer allegedly confronted the couple to see if they’d actually paid to see the film.   When the couple couldn’t find their ticket stub, the woman allegedly told him that “I know we done wrong.”

The couple said that they’d been to a funeral that day and “weren’t thinking right.”  They probably didn’t expect that by the end of the night, they’d be facing thousands in legal fees in a fight to stay out of prison.   The couple was charged with a felony for not paying the $6.75 price of admission, and taken right to jail.

In an email to The Huffington Post, Portage Police Sgt. Keith Hughes said that after the legal proceedings are done, he hardly expects the couple to actually go to jail.  But he is adamant that a felony could lead to jail time.

“I seriously doubt that they will serve any time, but the felony charge is punishable by 1 year or more in jail,” Hughes said.
Now that the couple’s fate is in the hands of prosecutors and defense attorneys, we can only hope that they will come to their senses. This case is a reminder of just how far the justice system can go when it is left unchecked. A case that would otherwise lead to a misdemeanor or a fine has suddenly become cause for sending two people to prison.  Maybe we’ve forgotten what prisons are actually for.

 

 

 

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31 Responses to Prosecutors Gone Wild? Couple Sneaks Into a Movie, Charged with a Felony

  1. smh…..and you’re all ok with the fact that this couple was stealing? What’s wrong with our society isn’t the justice system, it’s the people who voluntarily and knowingly make choices which land them at the feet of the justice system. Had they opted to go through the door and PAY like they were supposed to, this wouldn’t be a story at all. Take some d@mn responsibility for your actions, people. This mess is THEIR fault for CHOOSING to break a law.

    Kerri
    February 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm
    Reply

    • It is not that were okay with them stealing but how many other people who do not look like them they catch daily doing the same crime. The officer paid attention to his loud clothing really what about individuals with purple, green and other color of hair with earrings everywhere are the subjective to questioning. The fact is fair and equal punishment should be handed out but you would not understand this scenerio if you do not read stats on how one group is chosen at birth to have cell block. If you are a black male or female they build cells and prepare daily for your entrance because of hot headed prosecutors such as this and no way to I condone what they have done. I just wish we would realize that the law has order and consequences that should be handed out straight across the board. I live in the State of Florida in on year we have two young black males killed for senseless stand your grounds laws but no one will approach the issue to save the youth. The theory is those are two the government will not be responsible for….IJS

      Pamlea
      February 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm
      Reply

    • The cliche of responsilblity has become overused.
      A black person can do all of that and still get beat,killed and locked up on some fake charges.
      Then what,more talk on a black person being responsible.
      Racist,phony whites love to use that to attack poor black people in the hood who are just trying to survive overall.

      Peter D. Slaughter
      February 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm
      Reply

    • Then make them pay the cost of the movie, NOT PROSECUTE THEM FOR A FELONY! REALLY!!!!!!

      Anyone who thinks sneaking into a movie is a felony is out of their mind!

      Mzztee09
      February 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm
      Reply

      • I agree with making them pay for the movie and maybe even cleaning up the theatre after it is closed.

        Using our taxpayers dollars on some overzealous prosecutor that thinks that he/she will make it big time one day. He/She probably had a bad day and will take it out on someone..those type of prosecutors should not be allowed to prosecute. I think some of them need mental evaluations.

        I had a neighbor that went downtown and made up a story and the prosecutor decided to prosecute and it was so petty and such a lie that it blows me away. It was not even worth the tax dollars to take it into court but, gues who made money…The Attorney and they keep the courts full with petty, stupid cases like the one above. I feel it should have been handled differently.

        Toni
        February 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm
        Reply

    • Terri Really? Where did you get it that someone said it wasn’t their fault. I think you missed the point all together! Let me help you here. The point is the punishment is way over the top! You sound so self-righteous!

      wealthylady
      February 28, 2013 at 10:54 pm
      Reply

  2. So everyone should be locked up for taking a pen or paper clip from the job?

    carolyn m.
    February 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

  3. It is not that were okay with them stealing but how many other people who do not look like them they catch daily doing the same crime. The officer paid attention to his loud clothing really what about individuals with purple, green and other color of hair with earrings everywhere are the subjective to questioning. The fact is fair and equal punishment should be handed out but you would not understand this scenerio if you do not read stats on how one group is chosen at birth to have cell block. If you are a black male or female they build cells and prepare daily for your entrance because of hot headed prosecutors such as this and no way to I condone what they have done. I just wish we would realize that the law has order and consequences that should be handed out straight across the board. I live in the State of Florida in on year we have two young black males killed for senseless stand your grounds laws but no one will approach the issue to save the youth. The theory is those are two the government will not be responsible for….IJS

    Pamlea
    February 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm
    Reply

  4. our tax dollars at work — dayum shame

    Sharon Canty
    February 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    Reply

  5. This is not about justifying theft. This is about their attempt to label Blacks as felons. Convicted felons have reduced rights and freedom. When overt oppression is outlawed they find a more subtle means to achieve their goals.

    j/k
    February 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm
    Reply

  6. Yes, it is wrong to sneak into a movie with paying, but this is overkill.

    t_99
    February 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm
    Reply

  7. This is sick… Where is the justice in the justice system when they are allowed to pick and choose
    who they want to prosecute based on color, level of economical financial status, etc.
    so tired of our corrupt system. It hardly has the tools to treat everyone fair, which I thought was everyone’s basic right in this racist “America” we live in.

    Red
    February 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm
    Reply

  8. there is something called ‘reasonable punishment’. of course sneaking into a movie is wrong but having a class of people who can’t afford a movie is worse and out attention needs to be placed there. just because you have money to pay or for legal fees to get this charge thown out doesn’t mean that the poor, black or anyother race, should have to serve time in prison! the justice system is sick but people supporting this decision are the real culprits. they give these power hungry tyrants fuel!

    crystal washington
    February 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm
    Reply


  9. A couple – not some teenagers – trying to sneak off on $6.75 movie tickets to see the movie “Warm Bodies”? Why not go home with your warm bodies and do your thing? The punishment might not fit the crime but if they are black, white green or yellow; they should be charged with damnfoolery and given new partners – stupid asses. What’s there for us to defend?

    gcole
    February 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm
    Reply

  10. OK, I will admit, charging someone with a felony is a steep charge for this type of crime. Yes, it is a crime. It is theft. A misdemeanor should be charged. But what sort of adult does this sort of thing? I expect it from kids, but not grown-ass men and women. Perhaps jail would be good example for them.

    John Ekonomou
    February 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm
    Reply

  11. Time is running out like the Last Poets said years ago
    Black’s were warned about the new world order and many did not listen.
    All this death and self destruction of black people and afrikan people.
    A vast % of black’s still don’t get it.
    On a daily basis calling each other all types of names.
    Taking part in wallowing in slave type ignorance and brainwashing on daily.
    Viewing all types of self hating media productions and supporting so-called black stars who have souled their slave type souls so they can be famous and have access to fake paper money with dead white slaveowners on it.
    The last day of so-called black history month and this is the today’s reality.

    People like Marcus Garvey,Ida B. Wells,Denmark Vesey,John Brown are turning over in their graves at this moment.
    Black’s of today on a large scale do not even realize they have been set up to souled out.

    Peter D. Slaughter
    February 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm
    Reply

  12. What this boils down to is the total lack of respect that everybody (even Blacks) has for African-Americans. This cop saw an opportunity to stick-it to a couple of blacks because of his lack of respect for them as a race. This same cop has the mentality of those often accused of police brutality, racial profiling and the like. This was not about the act it was about the fact that they were black. It’s a ridiculous charge but they did break the law. What we need to be aware of is that people are always looking for us to do something wrong rather than to do something right and they want to seize every opportunity to expose the wrong and seldom the right. Black people are just as guilty of this as white people.

    James A.
    February 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm
    Reply

  13. Charging them with a felony is alway a way to take away their voting rights. In most states once a person is convicted of a felony they can no longer vote in presidental elections. This felony prosecution could very well be backlass from Pres. Obama’s second presidential election. This is still a lot of anger over his getting elected to a second term. And this could be a way of ensuring that no other black person be elected. Just make sure black people can’t vote by convicting them of felonies on small, petty crimes that would normally get a slap on the hand. As someone else wrote, if nothing else make them pay for the movie and let them go on their way.

    It also seems incredibly stupid to consider jail time for such a small crime. They would most like lose their apartment or house, their children may wind up in foster care or being cared for by family. It seems like a 10 dollar movie could potentially cost the state of Indiana many thousands of dollars in incarcaration, child care, housing, etc. The private prison owner may make some money but it seems like the state would lose.

    soulshadow55
    February 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm
    Reply

  14. Consider this case:

    It has been 1 year and 7 months since Mr. Wesley Snipes was sent to FPC MCKEAN – SATELLITE CAMP, BRADFORD/PENNSYLVANIA where he is serving a 3 year sentence term for 3 misdemeanor convictions – the harshest sentence imposed on misdemeanor charges in the history of the United States Of America. Moreover, Mr. Snipes was sentenced to 3‐years of imprisonment for “failure to file tax return”, NOT for tax evasion.
    He was acquitted of every felony charge which originated from his accountant.
    He was never charged nor convicted of tax evasion.
    His incarceration is not only an inhuman and disproportionate punishment but also a brutal violation of his constitutional rights …

    On June 6, 2011, the Supreme Court refused to hear Mr Wesley Snipes’ appeal.
    The high court rejected the appeal without any comment

    Also consider the ‘NEW JIM CROW’ – where nearly 8,000,000 people are currently under “supervision” and 1 in 34 people are in prison in the U.S.

    Has the prosecution of “offenses” gone not only OUT OF CONTROL but ALL OUT OF PROPORTION TO THE CRIMES ALLEGED. GULAG NATION wake up!!

    Teri
    February 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm
    Reply

  15. John Ekonomou – I have grown family members who have done this. They are retired adults, but that still doesn’t make them hardened criminals that deserve to be thrown in jail.

    James A – you are totally correct. This is just another cop having fun sticking it to black people. Also, I heard on Tom Joyner this morning that the theatre is in a suburb of Gary, Indiana. And that this was a way for the theatre owners to discourage black people in the city of Gary not to come to their theatres in the suburbs.

    soulshadow55
    February 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm
    Reply

    • Yes , that is the truth.. Indiana hates Gary, with portage being one of the first in line.

      Andre
      March 1, 2013 at 11:37 pm
      Reply

  16. @soulshawdow…U r exactly right! I have fam that live in Portage and I use to play against their high school baseball team in the 80′s. They are fvcked up out there! ! My dad retired from Bethlehem Steel and he had to drive through Portage for 35 years and always got stopped in his nice cars! ! Very jealous crackers out there, and the schools are less tolerant! ! If weed is being decriminalized, then 13 bucks of petty theft is a fine. Matter of fact, felony larceny is stealing more than a couple of thousand bucks! ! I guess y’all think u should go to jail for a speeding ticket, which is around 150 bucks. Eh? …Maat

    Imhotep
    February 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm
    Reply

  17. What value allows this to be prosecuted a felony, this price of two admissions

    Albert Hill II
    February 28, 2013 at 11:57 pm
    Reply

  18. I do not commend this couple for sneaking into the movie.I do think,however, they should have been served as a felony, given a fine and perhaps had to do some comunity service.
    I,also hope that they had not done this before and therefore, would have been targets for apprehension.
    I do not really understand, how they sneaked into the movie, unless they went into an exit door, or someone let them in.
    Most theaters, have a ticket control for customers to get into the main lobby.also, many of us do not keep our stubs, at least not for long.
    I ususally put my stub in my purse, in case I may have to leave. One time I left my lights on my car and had to go to the parking lot.
    Fortunately, I live in a community that is basically honest,however, if I had not kept my stub, I would have had to pay again, as the ticket seller was different.
    There is a lesson here:Basically, Thou should not steal. or cheat. At the least the lady admitted that they had done wrong.

    The fact, that they had gone to a funeral is a little hard to take, as I would think , someone would have given them money to attend the movie.
    Whatever the reason, it sets a bad example.
    I do pray that they can get through this without such a harsh sentence,but have learned their lesson.

    Maxine Williams
    March 1, 2013 at 1:13 am
    Reply

  19. Once again, It’s “Mutual of Omaha’s” ..WILD KINGDOM! .. Where the great hunters jump out the helicopter (bagging &tagging) the urban wildlife.. incarceration can cost $60,000 to $75,000 a piece, Lack of employment can lead to public assistance, parole or probation officials cost taxpayers., judges & prosecutors cost the taxpayers.. THESE PEOPLE WERE MERE TOYS to these so-called public servants..at what cost?.. The African American community has a cultural infestestaion of revolving door people suffering from mental stress. All of which has changed the “social behaviors” of people who haven’t even been convicted …

    Hiroader2
    March 1, 2013 at 1:22 am
    Reply

  20. When movie stars make minimum wage for baring their bodies, and popcorn is $1 max for average serving, I’ll stop doing round robin in the cineplex. This is crazy. Prison for a two-fer? Are you kidding me? Back in the day two or three movies for the price of one ticket was the norm.

    Frances Cash
    March 1, 2013 at 1:25 am
    Reply

  21. How about starting a petion on change.org?

    Robin
    March 1, 2013 at 11:42 am
    Reply

    • That’s a good idea Robin. I’m from Gary Ind., and Portage has always been racist as hell along with most of the rest of Indiana. I just need to know what to do get a petition started.

      Andre
      March 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm
      Reply

  22. I hope Al Sharpton is reading this. Sometimes you have to embarrass legal systems that tend to tip the scales to their advantage get change and correction and Sharpton is the guy to do it.

    Rob
    March 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm
    Reply

  23. The real crime is that movie theatres charge $10.00 admissions another for a soda and popcorn combo and have the nerve to charge an extra $1.00 for REAL butter instead of the mystery goo they lather on popcorn.

    I don’t encourage theft of service but I don’t like being robbed when I go to the movies either. I suggest sneaking in your own snacks and screw the theatre owners the same way the screw patrons. Meanwhile, drop the charges against that couple reduce it to a misdemeanor and forbid them entry into the movie complex for a year.

    Harold Sullivan
    March 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    Reply

  24. John Ekonomou – seriously? The movie cost what? $10? You want taxpayers to pay thousands of dollars (potentially) over $20?!!

    This is to take away their voting rights – end of story. This is just plain freaking stupid. The justice system is up to something and it’s scary.

    This couple is guilty of a childish prank, that’s all. I agree, make them pay for the movie and have them come in one weekend to clean the theater if you really wanted to push it – damn!

    So, this stupid off duty police officer can’t catch rapists (who roam free most of the time) murderers, wall street bankers and crooked cops. Oh, but this badge allows me to arrest people for sneaking in a crappy movie worth $10?

    Lord, you can blow up this stupid world anytime now…PLEASE!

    CW
    March 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm
    Reply

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