Produce pilfers take plea deal

TRAVERSE CITY — Two women accused of stealing fruits and vegetables from local produce stands may have been selling what they stole at local farmers markets.

Grand Traverse sheriff’s investigators arrested Angela Lamie, 36, and Cherie Young, 49, both of Traverse City, for stealing tomatoes, corn and other produce from two stands on Center Road over the summer.

The pair were caught on camera in late August carrying baskets of food away in the middle of the night, Grand Traverse sheriff’s Lt. Chris Barsheff said this week.

The two pleaded not guilty Sept. 23 to two counts of larceny, both misdemeanors, but changed their tune at an Oct. 7 pretrial. They pleaded guilty to one count, and the second count was dismissed in a plea deal, according to 86th District Court records.

Sue Ewing, market manager for Kingsley Farm and Artisans Market, said Lamie and Young set up a stand at the Kingsley and Fife Lake markets this summer.

Ewing grew suspicious of where the produce originated when another vendor said the pair didn’t have a garden, but she couldn’t take any action because all the food was in-season.

“It fit in our guidelines, so I had no reason to question it,” she said.

Ewing said she and other vendors shared a sense of betrayal after hearing the women had been arrested. She didn’t think she needed a screening process for vendors at a community farmers market, but is now considering tighter guidelines.

“I feel pretty well taken advantage of,” Ewing said. “I guess we’re going to have to discuss it. I don’t know what changes we’ll make.”

Lamie and Young’s sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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