Jones County clerk convicted in Wal-Mart shoplifting case

Jones County Clerk Connie Mize was convicted Thursday night on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge stemming from a theft at an Eatonton Wal-Mart in May.

Mize, 51, whose trial began Monday in Putnam County, was sentenced to 12 months' probation, 10 days in jail, 96 hours of community service and clinical evaluation for substance abuse, officials said.

She was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Mize, 51, from Gray, was arrested May 30 after trying to leave a checkout lane at the Wal-Mart with $400 worth of items -- $115 of it unscanned merchandise, according to a police report at the time.

Her lawyer, Gregory L. Bushway of Macon, had said there was some confusion when Mize checked herself out, buying 70 or so items in her 7 a.m. shopping trip at a Wal-Mart she does not frequent.

Jurors in state court deliberated about four hours Thursday evening before returning a guilty verdict, county solicitor Russell Thomas said.

Mize has worked for Jones County for about a dozen years. She was named county clerk, a post with a salary of about $45,000, in 2011.

When she was charged with shoplifting, Jones commissioners decided to let Mize keep her job until the matter was resolved.

Jones Commission Chairman Preston Hawkins said Friday that officials would meet next week regarding Mize’s future as clerk.