Monday, May 31, 2010

Priest accused of shoplifting butter, sofa cover

A Roman Catholic priest who formerly served in Belleville and Breese is accused of shoplifting butter and a sofa cover at a Wal-Mart in Southern Illinois.

Police in the village of West City arrested 41-year-old the Rev. Steven Poole on Friday. He's charged with two felony theft counts.

Investigators say Poole failed to scan a $3.22 container of butter and a $60 sofa cover at a self-checkout.

Poole then allegedly went to the store's bedding section, picked up a memory foam mattress and switched the pricing bar code. That caused the $145 item to be scanned for $31.

Allegedly, Poole also possessed a stolen laptop computer power pack.

He's the priest for St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Christopher and St. Mary's Catholic Church in Sesser.

Poole does not have a listed home telephone number, and messages left for him at the churches were not returned.

In 2001, Poole was convicted in St. Louis County Circuit Court of stealing an antique pub sign from a Ladue, Mo., antiques shop. He was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

In January 2001, Poole filed a false report with the Breese Police Department that he had been beaten and robbed at St. Augustine's Church. He was sentenced to six months of court supervision.

After the incidents in 2001, Poole was assigned to St. Mary's Church in Belleville to serve as an assistant to the pastor there.

Diocesan leaders said then that Poole had undergone counseling. He remained at the Belleville church for about a year.