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Lesson learned: If you're going to steal, don't do it in a courthouse

Published: Friday, March 29 2013 9:22 a.m. MDT

OREM — Carmen Berriel, 34, was waiting to speak to an Orem Justice Court judge about a probation violation on a theft conviction Monday when she was arrested and accused of stealing a smartphone. 

A court worker in the lobby just outside of the court set down her cellphone on a chair and stepped away. When she came back, the phone was gone.

Inside the courtroom, deputies monitor surveillance cameras, which they say made solving this case an easy task.

"And when we reviewed the video we found this Carmen Berriel, our suspect, was sitting across from her when she got up and left, and Carmen moved and sat in the same chair,” said Orem Police Sgt. Craig Martinez. “You could see phone in the video and when Carmen gets up, you see in the video the phone is gone.”

Deputies confronted Berriel. Police said she had stashed the phone inside the women’s restroom.

And her luck got worse because police solved this case before it was her turn to see the judge about her previous theft conviction.

“Our prosecutor learned what happened and told the judge, and the judge remanded her to the Utah County Jail for 90 days and now she is in jail,” Martinez said.

Berriel was charged with theft, a class A misdemeanor, and pleaded guilty to the charge Tuesday. She was sentenced to 90 days in the Utah County Jail to run concurrent with her other conviction. She was also placed on probation for 18 months and ordered to pay a $750 fine.

Sam Penrod

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