A woman has been arrested and jailed for theft of property from the Manna House in Rincon.
Aramentha Jenkins Lewis, 36, of Springfield, has been charged with burglary and criminal trespass after she turned herself into the Effingham County Jail on Tuesday.
Effingham County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Richard Bush was in the right place at the right time Jan. 2 as he drove up just in time to see a woman put something in her car at the Manna House and drive off. Bush said he had gone to drop some things off for the Manna House to use and that as he got closer, he could see a woman bringing a box out and placing it in her car and driving off.
His police instincts kicked in and he wrote her tag number down, “just in case,” he said.
After dropping off his load, he let his son stay there to work on signs until he returned. He was surprised just a little later when his son called to tell him that the woman was back and loading more things into her car. He said she filled her trunk and backseat before hurriedly driving off in her car, but she had been videotaped in the process. After a search, she finally turned herself in about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“When you see someone taking advantage of an organization like that, it’s disheartening to see it,” Chief Bush said. “Why would somebody do that? That place is supported by over 30 churches in the community and other organizations support that and send people there for help.”
Bush also said Manna House has provided help to Lewis in the past. He said she told sheriff’s officials that she didn’t know she couldn’t just take the stuff. Lewis has an extensive police record in the area.
“First of all, I was shocked,” said Lisa Bush, director of the Manna House and Chief Bush’s wife, “and I didn’t know who it was and I was shocked that someone would do something like this. Dealing with the clients and the people we deal with, I know that there are a lot of people out there hurting. There’s a lot of people out there that are just barely making it and trying to make ends meet. Not to give her an excuse, but I do know that that’s a need and people resort to any method they can to make ends meet.
“I hate it for her. We try to do the best we can to help those that are in need and make a difference in the community.”
Lisa Bush said that if Lewis were to come back needing assistance after getting out of jail, she would probably help her, because that’s what they are there for.