Weekly Update

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Last week, a member of the family that has owned the Stepherson’s grocery chain for 80 years wrote an open letter to elected officials. She expressed frustration with “rampant grocery theft.”  “I can remember for the longest time…if somebody was shoplifting…it was hidden under cloths or in a bag, and now it’s gotten more blatant and they’re walking out with just shopping carts of product, and it’s devastating.”

In response, we’ve reached out to the family and offered to meet soon to understand how we can help. I also reviewed the data. Since January 1, 2022, Stepherson’s has complained of 102 thefts in their stores, and MPD has made arrests in 36 of those incidents. Of the 36 people arrested, they had a combined 382 prior and subsequent other charges.  Most of those charges were for similar thefts.

Regarding the specific thefts at Stepherson’s, the results in court for these 36 individuals were:

Dismissal – 10

Probation – 1

Jail – 12

Case pending – 8

No record found – 5

Of the 12 sentenced, only three were sentenced to serve over 25 days (90-109), and two of those were sentenced for other crimes at the same time. The remaining nine were sentenced to serve from 1 - 23 days, with an average of 6.5 days.

Here are a couple examples. 

  • J.S. had 27 prior convictions for theft and robbery. He was arrested for theft from Stepherson’s, which appears to have been dismissed. On October 29, 2022, he was arrested again for thefts at two stores (shoe store and liquor store); he was sentenced to one day and released again.
  • C.H. had 94 theft and one burglary convictions. He was arrested for theft at Stepherson’s and sentenced to four days.
  • A.G. had 22 misdemeanor theft convictions and 14 felony convictions for robbery and burglary, including one at Stepherson’s. He was arrested again for a theft at Stepherson’s and was sentenced to 23 days in jail.
  • C.B. had 23 misdemeanor and two felony theft convictions. He was arrested for theft from Stepherson’s and was sentenced to five days in jail.

These are yet more examples of the “Revolving Door” in our judicial system. To quote the Stepherson family member who penned the letter, there is a reason “it’s getting more blatant…devastating”. When there are little-to-no consequences, criminals get more brazen and will continue to commit crimes. We have seen this with violent aggravated assaults and car thefts.

I wholeheartedly agree with the store owner that “something’s going to have to change.” It’s why I write about it so often in this Update

It’s time for the judicial system to wake up and take our rise in crime seriously.

Best of the Best: For the second consecutive year, the Renansant Convention Center was named best convention center in America by Smart Meetings Smart Stars 2023. The prestigious award recognizes meeting planners’ preferences for hotels, resorts, properties, cruise lines, and conference and convention centers worldwide. The winners reflect the highest standards of excellence in service, amenities, and customer satisfaction.

Congrats to General Manager, Dean Dennis, and his team on the impressive recognition for the second year in a row.

Gaston Community Center: Constructed in 1934, Gaston Community Center is the oldest community center in Memphis. The renovation of Gaston as a part of our Accelerate Memphis project is a prime example of exactly what we wanted to accomplish with this transformative program.

As you will see from the before and after pictures, we took a tired but beautiful building (most of the windows were boarded shut) and gave it new life in community that much deserved it.


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This $4 million project included new windows that bring natural light back into the space, a new roof, new furniture and fixtures throughout the facility, a new welcome desk, and an upgraded fitness room.

I’m excited to complete this important project and even more excited about what this community center will mean to this area of our city for years to come.

Enjoy your weekend!


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