Judge taps special prosecutor to investigate Rep. Ammons for alleged retail theft

Illinois Capitol News

Illinois Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Champaign, argues legislation while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

URBANA, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — A court-appointed special prosecutor is investigating to determine whether or not there is probable cause to charge state Representative Carol Ammons, a Democrat from Urbana, for allegedly stealing a purse from the Carle Thrift Shop on Friday, January 10th.

The item was worth an estimated $80, according to sources who were present.

Ammons’ legislative aide, Jenna Sickenius, emailed a statement on behalf of Ammons, calling the incident “a non-story about a simple misunderstanding.”

A secretary at Ammons’ government office in Champaign said Ammons declined to answer questions in an interview Friday.

According to court records obtained by WCIA, Urbana police referred the investigation to the Illinois State Police. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor, citing a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety if her office were to prosecute the suspect.

The office of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutors was assigned to investigate the case.

When reached by phone, Director Pat Delfino said it would be “inappropriate to comment on a pending case investigation.”

“We’re dealing with a situation here where everybody involved is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Delfino said.

The resale boutique shop accepts donations and operates as a charity to raise money for Carle nursing scholarships and to support the guest house.

Carle Foundation Hospital administrators have not returned requests seeking comment. Sources familiar with the incident say investigators are reviewing surveillance footage from inside the store.

The Urbana Police Department declined multiple requests to disclose a police report to the media.

WCIA has filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain more details about the incident.

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