Man gets three months in jail for stealing newspaper vending box

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

COURTLAND—It’ll be a while before Ellis Oliver Smith has a free weekend.

Smith on Tuesday was sentenced to three months in jail, which he will serve over 20 to 22 weekends for stealing a newspaper vending box from The Tidewater News on Nov. 17 so he could get money by recycling it.

The Newport News man entered a plea agreement for grand larceny in Southampton County Circuit Court.

Smith, 39, was caught when he tried to exchange the box — valued at more than $200 —  at the Franklin Recycling Center, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Toni Duncan. She said a Suffolk News-Herald box was also taken.

Judge Carl E. Eason Jr. had concerns over the sentence for weekends only, but allowed it because both sides agreed to the deal.

“I typically don’t allow this because three months is too long to serve on weekends only,” Eason said.

Smith also was placed on five years probation. His sentence begins Friday, Sept. 2, at 5 p.m.