The defendant says the situation was just a misunderstanding.
YOUNGSTOWN — A “joke” involving the theft of some change could cost a city man much more than the $8 recovered from his pockets by police.
Larry Carter, 25, of Glenwood Avenue appeared before Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Elizabeth Kobly on Tuesday morning on two charges of misdemeanor theft. Carter pleaded guilty to the two counts and will be sentenced May 28.
Carter faces up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine when he is sentenced later this month.
According to police, a couple parked their truck in the parking lot of Village Discount Store on Mahoning Avenue on Monday and then spent some time in the store shopping. When the couple came out of the store, they noticed a man sitting in the front seat of the truck.
Police say the uninvited man sitting in the truck was Carter.
The couple told police Carter noticed them heading for the truck and ran away, but they, seeing a purse in the truck had been opened, got in the vehicle and chased him. One of the truck owners chased Carter on foot to a wooded area near Mahoning Avenue before losing sight of him.
Reports say officers spotted Carter near a state liquor store sweating and out of breath a short time after the chase. He was arrested and charged with two counts of theft.
In Carter’s pants, officers found about $8 in change, which the truck owner said came from the vehicle. The owner also claimed to be missing two packs of cigarettes, which led to the second theft count.
In court, Carter explained to Judge Kobly that the situation was a misunderstanding based on a joke by one of his friends. He said the friend told him the truck belonged to the friend, and the friend wanted Carter to retrieve some items from the vehicle.
Carter told the judge he was pleading guilty because he could not deny committing the offense, but it was not intentional.
Judge Kobly said she would like to hear from the victims before sentencing Carter later this month.