THE KRYSTAL KARAT KAPER -NEW GRACE NEWS - MICHELLE GWYNN JONES

by BJ BECKHAM

The trial of Opal May  began on December 24th  in the New Grace County Courthouse.  Craig LaPorte of the Attorney General’s Office presented his opening statement.

Krystal Karats on Main Street in Rosemeade was robbed on the afternoon of July 8, 2015.  The owner reported being in the store alone when a woman entered pushing a stroller. After looking in the cabinets the woman asked to see a watch. When the owner took the watch out of the display she noticed the woman was holding a gun. Due to her hesitation the robber shot several times, while deliberately missing the owner, the bullets struck a clock on the wall, a grandfather clock in the corner and a display case.

According to Detective Winston Spaulding the owner stated the woman then demanded she open the safe and got away with jewelry valued at almost a million dollars and four thousand dollars in cash. The owner claimed the security camera had not been in working condition for the past month. While taking her statement her husband and co-owner of Krystal Karats entered the store and informed the investigating detectives that a backup security system was installed a year ago.

“It was at this time the woman became erratic, she shoved Detective Spaulding so hard he lost his balance, ran through the office and out the back door,” said Craig LaPorte, describing the bizarre turn of events. “Detective Spaulding gave chase. The owner ran down the alley and  into traffic causing the fatal accident which took the life of Theresa Burkart, a thirty-six year old mother of three from Acadia.”

Craig LaPorte promised the jury he would present video and documents to prove defendant Opal May, owner of Krystal Karats, staged the robbery and in her attempt to flee the scene caused the death of Theresa Burkart. Ms. May is charged with felony murder, insurance fraud, discharging a weapon within the town limits and filing a false police report.

Due to the late hour the case will continue after the new year with Rachel Shorte of Henley, Martin and Kelly representing the defendant.

 

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