In jail, accused of shoplifting and hitting a man with her car, Susan Rae Hammond called her ex-husband Feb. 3.
She gave precise instructions for how he was to use tape to decorate a birthday card with Valium pills and send her the card, so she could sell the pills to other inmates.
Hammond, 34, pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated assault, shoplifting, two counts of illegal use of a communication facility and two counts of attempt to violate Georgia’s controlled substances act.
Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms sentenced her to nine years in prison.
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As part of the hearing, Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy Scott Malcor described how Hammond, a serial Wal-Mart thief, stole items from Macon’s Harrison Road store and struck a loss prevention officer with her car Aug. 20, 2014:
Two loss prevention officers spotted Hammond and her mother-in-law, 50-year-old Scarlett Denise Hammond, peeling price stickers off expensive items and replacing them with stickers from cheaper items.
One of the officers recognized Susan Hammond from a similar incident at the store on April 14, 2014.
The officers watched the women go through a self checkout lane paying $300 for about $600 worth of merchandise.
One of the items was a Ninja food blender priced at $199 that rang up for $2, the price of a plastic tumbler cup.
Hammond’s mother-in-law complied when the officers confronted them. She was sentenced to probation last month in Bibb County Superior Court.
Hammond got loud and went out to the parking lot.
With Hammond in a BMW, loss prevention officer Alonzo Robinson stood behind the car, calling out the license plate information to his partner, who was on the phone with Bibb County deputies.
Hammond backed up, striking Robinson in the leg. He slammed his hands down on the back of the car and moved out of the way. Hammond backed up again, striking the officer a second time.
Later, after being caught by deputies, Hammond admitted she had shoplifted before by swapping price stickers.
Sometimes, she sold the items she bought for significantly less than their actual price.
She also returned items to the store for a refund for the full price.
When talking with deputies, Hammond said Robinson was standing behind the car and refused to move.
In court Friday, she said didn’t intentionally hit Robinson.
Simms said he might believe her, except that “you did it, and then you did it again.”
“I don’t believe a word of that,” he said.
The two shoplifting incidents at the Harrison Road Wal-Mart aren’t the only times Susan Hammond has been accused of a crime.
Hammond, whose address of record is in Dearing -- just west of Augusta, was convicted in 2012 for deposit account fraud and passing a bad check in Columbia County, Malcor said.
She was sentenced to 10 years of probation.
In May 2014, she was arrested for a traffic offense in Stapleton, another town near Augusta, and was sentenced to probation, Malcor said.
April 14, 2014, Hammond was stopped at the Harrison Road Wal-Mart after being spotted in a self check-out lane only scanning a portion of her bagged items, including a Ninja blender, Malcor said. In keeping with store policy, employees let her go when deputies didn’t arrive after a certain amount of time.
About a week later, Hammond was caught at a Wal-Mart in Milledgeville trying to return a Dyson vacuum she’d taken from the store earlier that month after placing a false price tag over the true sticker. She pleaded guilty to attempted misdemeanor shoplifting, Malcor said.
Then, on July 24, 2014, she was caught at a Wal-Mart in Ormond Beach, Florida, paying $12.73 for more than $330 worth of merchandise using the same type of scheme, Malcor said.
“The defendant is a thief, your honor,” Malcor told Simms during Friday’s hearing, “and a dangerous one.”
‘I TRULY AM SORRY’
After her arrest for the Aug. 20, 2014, Wal-Mart incident, Susan Hammond posted bond and was released.
She failed to appear at required court appearances and was arrested again Jan. 29, Malcor said.
A few days later, on Feb. 3, Hammond called her ex-husband and asked him to send her “some things” because she hadn’t been sleeping. After listening to subsequent recorded jail phone calls, authorities deciphered that Hammond was asking for Valium pills, Malcor said.
“She told him ... put them in the decorations on a card. She then explained what type of card to go and buy ... a birthday card with several flaps to open .. and to take the pills and tape them into the flaps on the card,” Malcor said. “That way she could sell the pills to other inmates.”
Hammond called again Feb. 3, saying she needed the pills as soon as possible. She called the next day, urging her ex-husband to send the pills because “she could trade it for some chips, and it would help her sleep, and she could make some money,” Malcor said.
Malcor said Hammond has offered excuses in recorded jail phone conversations saying she was forced to steal by an “abusive ex-husband” so she could pay her rent, she stole to satisfy a drug addiction or that she’s a “shopaholic addicted to money.”
Hammond’s mother spoke at the hearing, tearfully begging Simms to have mercy on her daughter.
She said she raised her daughter in church and disputed the allegations against her.
Lauren Dixon, Hammond’s lawyer, said her client has been diagnosed as bipolar and has had difficulty since her father’s death in 2013.
Before 2013, Hammond worked as a substitute teacher and was a foster parent through the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Dixon said.
Moments before she was sentenced, Hammond said, “I truly am sorry for what I did.”
Hammond faces additional prison time for violating her probation in other jurisdictions, exposing her to a potential eight or nine years, Malcor said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.