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January 2, 2013

RPD: Facebook page helps nab shoplifters

RICHMOND — Social media and cooperation between law enforcement agencies has led to the arrest of a couple accused of trying to walk out of Walmart last month with more than $1,400 in merchandise.

James H. Hobbs, 25, and Misty Melton, 29, both of Ravenna, were charged Sunday with theft by unlawful taking (over $500), said Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock in a Wednesday news release.

On Dec. 15, Walmart employees stopped a couple who they said was trying to leave the store without paying for $1,453 in goods. The man and woman then abandoned the cart and fled when confronted by the employees, the release stated.

Richmond police posted photos of the couple on the agency’s Facebook page, and an Estill County Sheriff’s deputy reportedly recognized Hobbs and Melton from previous encounters.

The deputy notified RPD of the suspects’ identities, and the investigating officer obtained warrants for their arrests. The warrants were served Sunday, and Melton and Hobbs were taken to the Estill County Detention Center.

Hobbs was brought to the Madison County Detention Center on Monday, according to the jail’s online records. He remained in jail Wednesday afternoon under bonds totaling $3,288.

Woman charged with making meth in Fourth Street apartment

Richmond police have made an arrest in connection with several active meth labs found in October at a Fourth Street apartment building.

Jessica Bowling, 26, of Georgetown, was charged Dec. 25 with manufacturing methamphetamine.

Officers were sent Oct. 8 to an apartment building in the 300 block of Fourth Street to investigate the report of a strong smell of ammonia coming from a smoking outdoor trash container, according to an RPD news release. The chemical could be smelled throughout the downtown neighborhood.

When they arrived, officers found two bottles in the trash can that were identified as one-step meth labs. One of them appeared to be active. The labs were rendered safe, according to the release.

Officers obtained and executed a search warrant on an apartment leased to Bowling inside the building. Inside, they found another one-step meth lab and its components, including ammonium nitrate, rock salt, Liquid Fire drain cleaner, tubing and Coleman fuel, the release stated.

Bowling was not at her apartment during the search, and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

She was taken into custody Dec. 25 by the Georgetown Police Department on the strength of the Madison County warrant.

She was being held in the Madison County Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon under a $15,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing on Bowling’s charge was conducted Wednesday in Madison District Court. Judge Charles Hardin found probable cause and waived the case to the grand jury.

Anyone with information about these cases is asked to call the Richmond Police Department at 623-1162.

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