By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Picayune Police Department officers investigated two cases, a shoplifting case that found drugs and a case where a woman attempted to send a controlled substance through the mail.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said the first case began on Feb. 1 when officers responded to a report of shoplifting at a store located on the 1700 block of U.S. Highway 11.
When officers arrived, they spoke with the business owner who said a woman and a man had just taken items from her store, and that the suspects were at the apartment building behind the business, Magri said.
Magri said the officer came into contact with 23-year-old Ashley Thorbjornsen of 1701 U.S. Hwy. 11N Apt. 5, who was asleep in her vehicle, which matched the description of one that had been involved in a hit-and-run earlier that day. The officer also saw the second suspect, later identified as 22-year-old Christopher Frelich of 2326 Marietta St., Chalmette La., who, upon seeing the officer, attempted to walk into the apartment, but was stopped by the officer with a verbal command, Magri said.
Both of the suspects appeared to be intoxicated and admitted to taking Klonopin prior to being involved in the hit and run accident, Magri said. A search of Frelich found an unmarked pill bottle with 12 Klonopin pills inside along with an amount of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, Magri said.
The officer then had enough evidence to take Frelich into custody for leaving the scene of an accident, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, and public drunk, Magri said. The officer inventoried the vehicle and found a number of items reported to have been stolen from the store next door, which were recovered and returned to the business owner, Magri said.
As the officer took Thorbjornsen into custody, she disobeyed the officer’s commands leading to disorderly conduct being added to the charges of public drunk and shoplifting, Magri said. He said shoplifting was added to Frelich’s charges after the stolen merchandise was located in the vehicle.
On Feb. 2, officers received a call from a local postal service business employee stating a customer was trying to send controlled substances through the mail, Magri said. When they arrived, the officers were told by the employee that a customer purchased a box to send items through the mail before leaving the store to place the items in the box, Magri said. The customer, later identified as 27-year-old Sharron Stone of 24 Joseph Burks Rd., then returned to mail the package, Magri said. During the transaction, Magri said Stone mentioned she was sending pain medication to her husband because the brand he likes was not sold in stores in Virginia. The conversation made the employee suspicious and since the business reserves the right to inspect packages if they suspect illegal activity is involved, the box was searched after Stone left.
What the employee found inside prompted her to call police, Magri said. The employee found the box contained 10 Oxycodone pills and one and a half Xanax pills, Magri said. Using video surveillance from the business and other investigative procedures, the officer was able to identify and locate Stone, Magri said. He said Stone was charged with two counts of felony transfer of a controlled substance and taken to the Criminal Justice Center. After she was booked, the officer checked the back seat of the patrol vehicle, which Magri said takes place after each booking. The officer found two more Hydrocodone pills and a straw containing a white powder residue in the back seat, Magri said. That discovery led to Stone being charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia, Magri said. Stone had $120 on her at the time of her arrest, which was seized, Magri said.