Woman who stole jewelry could go to prison

Woman who stole jewelry could go to prison

URBANA — A Champaign woman who admitted stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from people whose houses she helped clean faces up to five years in prison.

Tracy M. Whaley, 39, who listed an address in the 1400 block of Garden Hills Drive, pleaded guilty Friday before Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd to four counts of felony theft for stealing jewelry from four different victims between June and December 2013.

Ladd set sentencing for Sept. 24 and said she would abide by the cap of five years in prison that Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Bennett plans to seek. Whaley’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones, asked to have Whaley evaluated for drug court probation.

Whatever sentence Whaley receives will include $8,420 in restitution to the four women who were her victims.

Bennett said Whaley’s sister was employed to clean houses for the women and that Whaley occasionally helped her. One time, Whaley’s sister caught Whaley going through a dresser drawer, Bennett said.

Two of the victims noticed jewelry missing in December. Police focused on the house cleaners and found some of the jewelry had been pawned at local shops.

Whaley admitted that she stole the jewelry, Bennett said.

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