PAXTON — The Paxton Police Department released the following list of recent activity:
➜ Angela S. Purtell, 46, of Paxton, was arrested for retail theft after police received a complaint from the Paxton IGA, 144 W. Pells St., around 10:56 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, alleging that Purtell had stolen Brillo pads valued at $2.69 from the grocery store.
➜ Wyatt H. Morris, 22, of Rankin, was arrested for residential burglary and theft (less than $500) after police were contacted around 6:17 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, by a resident of the 400 block of East Pine Street alleging that Morris had entered their residence and stolen about $100 in cash. Video of the alleged theft was provided to police, who located Morris the following day and arrested him. The alleged crime occurred just nine days after Morris was arrested by Paxton police for forgery and theft for allegedly stealing checks and cashing them at a Paxton bank for approximately $1,400.
➜ Lisa M. Bitzel, 53, of rural Hoopeston, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, unlawful use/possession of a weapon, obstruction of justice, bringing contraband into a penal institution, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with no valid driver’s license during a traffic stop at 10:28 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, in the parking lot of the Casey’s General Store at 140 S. Market St. The traffic stop was initiated after police allegedly saw Bitzel make an improper turn. Upon approaching the vehicle, police noticed a strong odor of cannabis coming from inside it. A subsequent search revealed the presence of a small amount of cannabis, numerous prescription pills for which Bitzel did not possess a prescription, multiple types of drug paraphernalia, scales with "white crystal residue" on them, a stun gun and firearm ammunition. Bitzel was subsequently arrested and taken to the Ford County Jail, where police found her to be in possession of multiple plastic bags containing suspected methamphetamine, cannabis and prescription pills. In addition to being arrested on the numerous criminal charges, Bitzel was ticketed for improper traffic lane usage and operating an uninsured vehicle. A passenger in the vehicle — Bradley A. Williams, 30, of East Lynn — was ticketed for possession of drug paraphernalia and released at the scene. The vehicle that Bitzel was driving — a 2005 Ford 500 — was seized by police under city ordinance and the Drug Forfeiture Act. Also seized was about $160 in cash found in Bitzel’s possession.
➜ Steven M. Johnson, 38, of Park Forest, was arrested for driving with a suspended driver’s license and ticketed for operating an uninsured vehicle during a traffic stop at 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, on West Ottawa Road by the Interstate 57 interchange. The traffic stop was initiated after police ran the registration plates on the vehicle he was driving and found that the registered owner — Johnson — had a suspended license. The purple 1994 Chevrolet S-10 that Johnson was driving was seized by police under city ordinance.
➜ Michael W. Smith Jr., 44, of Paxton, was arrested on a Ford County warrant for failure to appear in court for a traffic offense at 8:47 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, in the 200 block of East Fulton Street.
➜ Spencer L. Brown, 20, of Paxton, was arrested for retail theft for allegedly stealing alcoholic beverages from the Casey’s General Store at 140 S. Market St. around 11:56 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14. After police arrived at the convenience store, they were told that Brown had stolen alcohol, dropping a can of an alcoholic beverage as he was walking out the door. They were told that Brown fled on foot, heading north. Police soon found Brown, and he was in possession of three 24-ounce cans of beer that were believed to have been stolen from the store. The store’s assistant manager told police that Brown had arrived at the store in a vehicle that was still parked in the lot outside. Police then approached that vehicle, which was being driven by a 17-year-old female from Rantoul. Police suspected she was under the influence of alcohol, so they administered field-sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed. The teenager was then arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and was taken to the county jail, where she submitted to a breath test, which found that her blood-alcohol content (BAC) was at 0.182 — more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. The silver 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix that the teen was driving was seized by police under city ordinance.