According to a report from the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department, a member of the Providence Tourism Commission Board was arrested on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge earlier this year at Walmart in Hanson.
According to the Hopkins County Sheriffs report, officers were called to the Hanson Walmart at 4:51 p.m. on January 27 after one of the store’s loss prevention staff noticed a female customer attempting to leave the store without paying for merchandise. The suspect was detained until authorities arrived.
The report states that when officers arrived, Kristi D. Higdon, 58 of Providence, was in possession of $117.91 of merchandise that she had not paid for. She was not arrested, but was issued a summons to court on March 1, 2021.
According to Hopkins County Circuit Court Clerk Tonya Bowman, Higdon was sentenced to pay $164 in restitution to Walmart, was banned from returning to the store for two years and was ordered to serve five days in jail at a latter date.
On Friday, Higdon voluntarily reported to the Hopkins County Jail to serve two days of her sentence, which is when the case came to light.
Higdon, who retired in 2020 after a 27 year career as a FRYSC Coordinator in the Providence and Webster County School Districts, has served as a member of the tourism board for several years.
Officials with the city of Providence stated that they had not been notified of the charges or subsequent sentence against Higdon. Although no official statement was issued, it was said that even a misdemeanor conviction could possibly be considered a violation of the city’s code of ethics.
The city will be looking into the matter and discussing it with the city attorney.