Driver admits to role in diaper caper

Published 9:46 am Friday, November 4, 2011

FRANKLIN—A Franklin man who claimed he did not help steal diapers and baby formula from an Armory Drive store recently pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Loreze Artis, 50, admitted to accessory, a misdemeanor, after being charged with felony conspiracy to commit a crime, according to a spokeswoman with Franklin General District Court. Artis was placed on six months probation.

After being released on bond from Western Tidewater Jail within days after the July 28 theft from Farm Fresh, Artis told The Tidewater News he commonly gives people rides, just like he did for Eric Bradshaw when Bradshaw allegedly asked him for a lift to Farm Fresh.

Artis claimed he had no idea that Bradshaw, 40, of Franklin planned to steal diapers and baby formula valued at $233, as charged by Franklin police.

Formerly employed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Harris Teeter, Artis remained in his 2004 Volvo when Bradshaw went into the store. Bradshaw allegedly returned with a shopping cart and bags and put them in the back seat of the car.

Police said they received a call from Farm Fresh; the manager claimed the pair “left the scene in great haste,” which Artis denied.

Bradshaw apparently asked Artis to drop him off at a home that wasn’t Bradshaw’s residence. Police arrived when Artis and Bradshaw arrived at the home and arrested the pair.

Bradshaw was charged with grand larceny, conspiracy to commit a felony and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Artis could not be reached.