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Woman gets probation on charges of stealing from Pa. fire company

August 11, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Sabillasville, Md., woman was placed on probation Wednesday in Franklin County Court on charges that she and a man stole more than $3,000 from the Blue Ridge Mountain Fire & Rescue Squad in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

"Shawna the bingo bandit ... stealing from the fire company," Judge John R. Walker said as the sentencing for Shawna M. Ballantine began.

Ballantine, 21, of 16872 Buck Lantz Road, had pleaded guilty in June to theft and criminal trespass, according to court records. Washington Township police had charged her and Brice D. Klingensmith, formerly of the same address, with taking receipts from the fire company on several bingo nights between Aug. 15, 2004, and Oct. 24, 2004, according to court records.

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The pair also had been charged with entering the fire hall in November 2004 and stealing a computer, according to court records.

"I'll admit to the computer ... but as far as the bingo money, no," Ballantine said. "I didn't steal the money."

"I'm moving my chair back ... I don't want lightning bouncing off you and hitting me," Walker said. "You've got to be honest with yourself."

Walker said he could not sentence her if she was denying guilt, but decided to go ahead with the sentence because she admitted to taking the computer. He gave her seven years on probation and ordered her to pay $3,205 in restitution to the fire company.

The affidavit of probable cause stated that the money was stolen from small games of chance receipts during bingo nights at the fire hall during which Ballantine and Klingensmith volunteered to work. The affidavit stated Ballantine told police she was aware money was taken by Klingensmith.

Klingensmith, who previously had pleaded no contest to theft and criminal trespass charges, was placed on probation in June and ordered to pay his share of the restitution, according to court records.

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