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CHARLESTON -- A woman was placed on probation when she admitted stealing from her employer.

As part of her sentence, Amber M. Watson was ordered to pay restitution to the Ace Hardware store in Charleston and to a woman who's debit card she was also accused of using.

Watson, Amber N.


Watson, 54, whose most recent address on record is 1906 11th St., Charleston, pleaded guilty to a theft charge accusing her of taking money from the store by falsifying refunds while employed there in August.

She was also charged with possession of another's debit card for allegedly using another woman's card to make purchases in December 2017.

That charge was dismissed with the agreement reached but Watson was ordered to pay restitution to the cardholder, as well.

The restitution totaled just more than $1,000 and was one of the terms of the 2 1/2-year probation sentence Watson received.

Watson was also ordered to pay about $675 in fines and court fees. Jail time was included in the sentence but it was stayed, so she won't have to serve it if she doesn't violate any of her probation requirements.

Coles County Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien sentenced Watson based on the plea agreement recommended.

Then-State's Attorney Brian Bower prosecuted the case and then-Assistant Public Defender Jesse Danley represented Watson. The case concluded before Bower's recent appointment to a judge's position and Danley's appointment as state's attorney.

In other property crime cases in court recently, guilty pleas were also entered by:

  • Brittany A. Grissom, 33, for whom records list an address of 408 N. 21st St., Mattoon, to forgery charges alleging she wrote checks on two other people's accounts in April and May.

A charge accusing Grissom of also forging a check on a third person's account in April was dismissed and she was placed on probation for 2 1/2 years.

Terms of the sentence included restitution totaling about $770, which included the forged check from the dismissed charge.

She was also sentenced to a month in jail with more jail time stayed and ordered to pay about $800 in fines and fees.

O'Brien accepted a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Tom Bucher and Public Defender Anthony Ortega recommended.

  • Aaron W. Jones, 21, whose address on record is an apartment at 2201 Richmond Ave., Mattoon, to a misdemeanor theft charge alleging he had a role in a vehicle break-in in Mattoon on June 25.

A felony burglary charge was dismissed and terms of Jones' two-year probation sentence included a share of restitution along with co-defendants convicted earlier.

Among the other requirements were a substance abuse treatment evaluation, about $600 in fines and fees and stayed jail time.

Circuit Judge James Glenn accepted a plea agreement that Bucher and Ortega recommended.

The co-defendants were Justin M. Jones, 19, with the same Mattoon address on record, and Traesun A. Guthrie, 21, with a Greenville address on record. They both pleaded guilty to burglary charges earlier this year and were placed on probation.

  • Stephanie K. Elder, 27, whose most recent address on record is on Peach Court, Mattoon, to a theft charge accusing her of stealing a chicken coop from the Mattoon Rural King store on May 14.

The charge was a felony because of a prior theft conviction and Elder was sentenced to 2 1/2 years of probation.

She was ordered not to return to Rural King and to pay restitution along with about $675 in fines and fees; jail time was stayed.

Glenn accepted a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Rob Scales and Assistant Public Defender Terese Matthews recommended.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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