By MARLO BARNHART
A moment of self-described foolishness cost a 24-year-old Hagerstown woman dearly Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.
Melissa Ann Miller, of 1021 Westport Drive, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in connection with an incident last summer in which she faked her own kidnapping and robbery to hide the theft of more than $5,000 from her employer.
Judge John H. McDowell refused to grant probation before judgment, despite Miller's previously clean criminal record. Instead he gave her a three-year suspended prison sentence, placed her on probation for three years and ordered repayment of $5,761 in restitution.
"This was a felony theft in a very devious manner," McDowell said. "You led police on a wild goose chase."
Miller was arrested by police on Aug. 30 at the Wellesley Inn on the Dual Highway and charged with false report of a crime, felony theft, and conspiracy to commit felony theft.