CANTON—Nelson City Councilwoman Edith Portillo, 72, was arrested July 23 and charged with theft by shoplifting, police said Thursday.
Portillo was arrested after she allegedly stole several items in June from the Wal-Mart store in Canton, said Pacer Cordry, spokesman for the Canton Police Department.
According to the police report, “an older female, with fair skin and short grey hair” walked into the store on Riverstone Parkway just before 4 p.m. on June 15 and loaded up with nearly $200 worth of merchandise before leaving without paying for the items.
While the woman described to Canton Police by Wal-Mart staff was unknown at the time, Cordry said investigators later determined Portillo was the suspect.
“The detectives used video surveillance to lead to her,” Cordry said.
Cordry said investigators also found that Portillo made a transaction at the store around the time of the theft and that she has the same type of truck driven away from the store, a navy blue Chevrolet Silverado, which was also captured on camera.
Among the items alleged to have been stolen by the Portillo are two solar lights, a canister set, a dish mat and two Lego sets, according to police records.
Elected in a special election last year to replace resigned Councilman Larry Sellers, Portillo is serving a partial term in office which expires this year.
Nelson City Attorney Jeff Rusbridge said Thursday that Portillo’s arrest could potentially affect her position on the City Council if she is convicted of the charge against her, a misdemeanor.
“A council member could face the possibility of removal from office for a conviction of a misdemeanor,” Rusbridge said, but only “upon the filing of removal action in Superior Court.”
If that removal action was to not be filed in Superior Court, Rusbridge said Portillo could remain in her seat on the council.
Nelson City Manager Brandy Edwards said Thursday that the city had no comment on the arrest.
Portillo was released from the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on $800 bond last Tuesday, said Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.