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Woman accused of shoplifting says she wanted to go to jail

September 28, 2010
  • Melissa Ann Van Allen
West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Police say a woman charged with shoplifting about $94 in merchandise Monday from Martin's grocery store in Martinsburg indicated she wanted to get caught committing the crime because she wanted to go back to jail, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Melissa Ann Van Allen, 38, of no fixed address, was arraigned Tuesday on one felony count of shoplifting, third offense, and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance (methadone), according to court records.

She was being held Tuesday night in Eastern Regional Jail on a $15,000 bond set by Magistrate Sandra L. Miller, according to court records.

Van Allen was convicted of shoplifting last Wednesday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court and twice in Martinsburg Municipal Court, in February 2008 and April 2010, according to a complaint filed with the court by Martinsburg Police Officer J.L. Harper.

"She admitted to taking the items and not paying for them, stating that she did it to get caught because she wanted to go back to jail," Harper said in his complaint.

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While arresting Van Allen for shoplifting, police found her in possession of three methadone tablets, according to court records.

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