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Cell phone helps nab alleged candy thief

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

KNIGHTSTOWN — A cell phone camera helped nab a woman accused of wielding a semi-automatic handgun following a recent shoplifting incident in Knightstown.

According to a report from the Knightstown Police Department, Philisha Rose Lee Ann (Jackson) Davis, 25, was arrested Tuesday afternoon at her home in the 100 block of S. Adams St. and preliminarily charged with intimidation, criminal conversion and carrying a handgun without a license. 

Davis’ arrest was made possible in part by a cell phone photo taken of her vehicle’s license plate by an employee at the Marathon Service Station on Main Street in Knightstown, where the incident allegedly occurred on Friday, April 6. 

The gas station employee told an investigator he saw Davis enter the store, walk over to the candy counter and place several candy items in her sweatshirt pockets. After Davis paid for a pack of cigarettes and gas, the employee followed her outside the store and saw her allegedly throw several items into a pickup truck.

The employee said when he confronted Davis, she first denied taking anything, then reached into her pocket and handed over a Dove candy bar. The employee advised her the police were on the way and she could not leave, the report indicated. 

As Davis went through her pockets, she also allegedly pulled out a small gray and black semi-automatic handgun. 

According to the police report, the employee said he “felt intimidated to the point he felt she (Davis) was going to shoot him.” 

The employee sent police a cell phone photo of the truck’s license plate, which investigators used to find the vehicle and make the arrest four days after the alleged incident occurred. 

Two other people – a man and a woman – were reportedly in the pickup truck at the time of the incident, but neither has been charged in connection with the alleged crime.

During an interview with police, Davis allegedly admitted to stealing the candy bar, and pulling a Beretta 0.38 cal semi-automatic handgun from her pocket. Davis told police that while she and the gas station employee were arguing, the employee was intimidated, and also allegedly admitted that she did not have an Indiana handgun carry license. 

At press time, no court dates had been set for Davis, who as of Wednesday morning remained incarcerated at Henry County Jail under a $15,500 surety bond and $1,350 cash bond.

The arrest was cited as an example of how a new approach to solving crime is taking shape in Knightstown under Police Chief Chris Newkirk.

“I have redesigned the schedule so that we can focus more on handling investigations and making arrests on unsolved cases,” Newkirk said. “I was able to come up with a new schedule that frees up (an investigator,) allowing him to concentrate on working criminal investigations while keeping the patrol schedule covered and not costing the town any extra money.”

Newkirk said the schedule allows the investigator to carry a full case load and give him the time he needs to conduct thorough investigations.

“This change in the schedule took affect three weeks ago and I am already seeing a drastic change in the speed at which investigations are moving,” Newkirk said.