Non-sexual, non-violent crimes not punishable through end of May

Posted at 7:20 AM, May 08, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Amid the economic crisis, small businesses are struggling to keep the lights on and some business owners are also dealing with break-ins, an offense without repercussions through the end of May.

Within six days, Lexington boutique Monkee's of Lexington was broken into twice. This was heartbreaking and frightening for Owner Sarah Woodworth who has owned the businesses for nearly a decade.

"After the first break-in. We put triple locks on the cellar door [and] we bought multiple new cameras connected through Nest, so we got the notifications if something happened," she explained. "And we also signed a contract with a new security system, getting a big fancy-dancy top-of-the-line, every bell, and whistle you can get. Signed that on Monday, and on Tuesday, I was heading over to my store in Louisville, when with my manager, when my husband texted her and said, they broke in again."

Because of all the new technology Woodworth installed, they caught the burglar on camera on Tuesday morning.

Immediately following both incidents in which merchandise, cash, and technology were stolen, Woodworth called Lexington Police. She says they were quick to respond, kind, and helpful in offering tips to improve her business' security.

"The biggest thing they said that I heard was this is happening all over Lexington multiple times a night right now. And you know they're there, they're working to find these people, but after they're arrested, they're not being put in jail currently. So they're being released immediately to go back and do this again," repeated Woodworth. "And the officer that came last week the first time said to us, be prepared. This will happen again. And you know, again, we kind of thought it might happen again. But we didn't think it would happen six days later."

According to a Supreme Court Order, through the end of May, those charged with "non-sexual/non-violent" misdemeanors and felonies will be released on their own recognizance if they do not pose a "high risk for new criminal activity."

When asked if the process for non-violent felons has changed given the Governor's changes from the court order mentioned above, Lexington Police Public Information Officer Brenna Angel said: "Even before the pandemic, officers were able to take into consideration different factors when appropriate for some offenses in determining whether an arrest is made or if the suspect is cited to court."

I mean, kick a girl while she's down. We've gone almost eight weeks now with no revenue," said Woodworth. "We're law-abiding citizens, that's listening to our Governor say, you cannot open your business. But for [those who] are breaking the law, multiple times, and will not see any repercussion for, it is it's very frustrating."

Despite what business owners told LEX 18, last month in Lexington, there were 33 reported burglaries; in April of 2019, there were 29.