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Prolific shoplifter's spree ends when caught stealing ribs from Athcovid-19 ens Walmart

Donna Marie Blackwell

By Joe Johnson

A prolific shoplifter’s alleged theft spree ended this week when she was caught trying to steal barbecued ribs from Walmart in east Athens.

The spree began on Feb. 14, when 52-year-old Donna Marie Blackwell stole candles and soaps valued at $125.78 Bath & Body Works on Alps Road, and continued through worth of items (candles and soaps) from Bath and Body Works on Alps Road and continued through Wednesday when she was caught trying to steal from Walmart on Lexington Road seven packages of barbecued ribs with a total value of $47, according to Athens-Clarke County police Property Crimes Unit Detective Nathaniel Franco.

In between, Blackwell made multiple trips to Target on Atlanta Highway and Stein Mart on Alps Road and stole merchandise with a total value of nearly $600, Franco said.

According to the detective, Blackwell works alone but usually has someone drive her to stores from which she steals.

After Walmart employees caught Blackwell stealing the ribs on Wednesday, the woman fled in a car driven by a man but was arrested during a traffic stop at Lexington and Cherokee roads.

Blackwell was charged with theft by shoplifting and taken to the county jail, where she was served nine warrants from previous retail store larcenies.

She was released the next day on an own recognizance bond.

“In addition to these Athens cases, she also has multiple shoplifting cases pending in Oconee County, including a case from the Oconee County Wal-Mart,” according to Franco. “Blackwell steals from local retailers so much that she is well-known to many local loss prevention employees, across multiple retailers.”

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