KENNEWICK - A 34-year-old man is not allowed to enter supermarkets or convenience stores without supervision after hitting a clerk over several packages of cigarettes.
Aaron Matthew Meola pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was sentenced to four months on jail work crew. He must report in by Wednesday morning.
According to court documents, Meola walked into Parks Edge Food Mart in Richland on Jan. 31, 2010, just as the store was closing. The clerk, Dannelle Meyers, told Meola she could not sell him anything, but he ignored her and walked behind the counter for the cigarettes, documents showed.
Meyers, 24, told Meola to put the packages back and ran to block the front door, repeating that he couldn't leave until he returned the merchandise. Meola then pushed Meyers, struck her across her neck and shoulder and shoved her out of the way.
Richland police who responded to the store that night found Meyers crying and holding her sore left arm, court documents said. Officers were able to identify Meola from video surveillance footage, which showed him walking out of the store with the stolen cigarette packages, documents said.
Prosecutors originally charged him with second-degree robbery, but agreed to the amendment because immediately after the theft, Meola was civilly committed at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. He is under the care of Lourdes Counseling Center, is closely monitored by his treatment providers on a weekly basis and is on psychiatric medication, Deputy Prosecutor Julie Long wrote in court documents.
Meola is banned from entering grocery or convenience stores while unsupervised as a condition of his counseling treatment.
He has no prior assaultive history and is continuing mental health counseling which, along with the jail term, should hold him accountable for his actions, Long wrote.
Meola was ordered to have no contact with Dannelle Meyers for 10 years.
Read more: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/03/07/1396634/court-roundup-seasonal-worker.html#ixzz1FvL3v99k