By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Springfield, Ill., woman who was part of a group of people charged with stealing electronics from Quincy's Best Buy store was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday.
Starlette S. Higgins, 25, pleaded guilty to retail theft. She waived her right to a pre-sentence investigation and was sentenced to two years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Judge William Mays. Higgins had a conspiracy charge dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Without the plea agreement, Higgins could have been sent to prison to up to 10 years.
She was on probation in Cass County on a retail theft charge when she and four other Springfield residents traveled to Quincy the night of April 22.
Higgins was among four people who entered Best Buy, 6020 Broadway, and left with laptop computers and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones that night. Each of the four suspects allegedly stole one laptop computer. As a group, they collected 14 headphones. The electronics were valued at $6,933.96.
The group was in the store for less than three minutes. Adams County First Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said the four went to the computer area of the store before going to the area where the headphones were sold.
A store employee and another witness saw a vehicle car park next to the front door and leave with the suspects. The vehicle, which had Ohio license plates, was stopped by a Illinois State Police trooper in Pike County. All the stolen items were recovered.
Higgins has a previous retail theft conviction in Sangamon County on her record. She was given probation in that case. She also has charges pending in Peoria County.
"I accept the two years, but I am kind of worried about the other cases," Higgins told Mays.
She has been lodged in the Adams County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bond since her arrest. She is the first person involved in the case to be sentenced. Alexia I. Robinson, 22, pleaded guilty to a retail theft charge and will be sentenced July 25. Leonski D. Higgins, 34, will enter a plea July 12, and Willisha S. Brown Joiner, 21, is scheduled to enter a plea July 19. Silva Harris, 30, has her case on the August jury trial docket.