Prosecutors upgrade shoplifting charges against Aurora alderman

AURORA (STMW) - Prosecutors have upgraded the charges against an Aurora alderman accused of stealing from a store last month in the west suburb to a felony.

Ald. Lynne M. Johnson (10th), 51, has now been charged with felony burglary for allegedly stealing $55.21 worth of merchandise from the Meijer Store at 808 North Rte. 59, according to a statement from the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office. She had initially been charged with misdemeanor retail theft.

A judge issued the $50,000 arrest warrant Friday, prosecutors said. Johnson turned herself in Monday and was released after posting the necessary 10 percent of the warrant.

On Jan. 31, a plainclothes “asset protection” employee saw Johnson enter the store, which is located in the ward she represents, and put markers, pencils, holiday party favors and two bottles of ibuprofen in her purse, according to Aurora police. She paid for other items in her shopping cart, but never opened her purse and left the store without paying for those items.

The employee made contact with Johnson outside the store, escorted her to the asset protection office, and notified Aurora police.

“It is troubling any time an elected official is accused of wrongdoing,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the statement, adding that the charges were upgraded “following a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations”.

In August 2013, Johnson, of the 400 block of Plaza Place in Aurora, was charged with stealing $150.24 worth of cosmetics and food from the same Meijer store, police said. She pleaded guilty and was granted supervision.

She is next scheduled to appear in court March 21.

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