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URBANA — A Champaign woman who admitted she stole an electric wheelchair from a north Champaign home in June has been sentenced to two years of probation and 94 days in the county jail, which she has already served.

Joanna Stewart, 32, whose last known address was in the 1500 block of Winston Drive, pleaded guilty Wednesday before Judge Roger Webber to theft over $10,000 in one case and possession of a stolen vehicle in another.

In the theft case, Stewart admitted that on June 24, she stole an $18,000 wheelchair from a carport in the 1300 block of North Neil Street. It was later recovered.

In exchange for her guilty plea, a count of residential burglary in that case alleging she went in an apartment in the 400 block of Briar Lane the same day and stole a television was dismissed.

She also pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle, admitting that she had a vehicle that had been taken June 14 from a Champaign home. It was later found in the parking lot of the Walmart in Champaign and had also been reported used in a credit-card fraud at a Neil Street gas station earlier that day.

In both cases, Stewart was convicted of Class 2 felonies.

Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Larson dismissed three other less serious burglary cases against Stewart alleging she entered vehicles to steal in June and July.

Stewart was arrested July 12 after she was discovered by a resident in the 400 block of East Bradley Avenue who found her sleeping inside her car. Stewart told the woman she was homeless and hadn’t taken anything. However, police found her with a bag that contained credit cards belonging to that woman and others that were allegedly taken in other vehicle burglaries in the summer, police said.

Court records show Stewart had prior convictions for delivery of a controlled substance, battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).