Man Receives 15-Year Sentence for Identity Theft From a Member of our Armed Services

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2011
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Shawn Atkins received a 15-year sentence for stealing $380 through identity theft from a member of our armed services. Atkins entered into a plea agreement minutes before his trial. He was sentenced as a habitual offender and will spend the entire 15-year sentence in jail.

On December 28, 2009, victim Matthew Jones was purchasing refreshments for his family from a Ridgeland gas station. Jones accidentally left his wallet on the counter when he departed the station for his home in Biloxi.

Based on camera surveillance of the two store clerks on duty at the time, Shawn Atkins and David Hayes retrieved the wallet, attempting to conceal it from the camera. The two suspects waited approximately 20 minutes to see if the victim would return to claim his wallet. Atkins and Hayes then went to the ATM machine located inside the store and were able to withdraw $380.00.

Jones reported the fraudulent charges to the Ridgeland Police Department the next day. According to co-defendant Hayes’ written statement that was given at the time of his arrest, Atkins retrieved money from the ATM and gave Hayes a cut of $140.00 before keeping the rest.

Guest stated, “Atkins is a habitual offender that had just been released from prison and who stole from a member of our armed services. Jones is a member of the United States Air Force and was in the process of being transferred to Biloxi when this offense occurred.”

Atkins has previously been convicted of Armed Robbery in Louisiana, and was on probation for Automobile Burglary from Hinds County at the time of this crime.

Guest concluded, “I want to thank the Ridgeland Police Department for their hard work in this case. It is extra special to bring someone to justice that has victimized a member of our military. Atkins has now been rightfully punished and his life of crime has come to an end.”