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Woman Running for Territorial Committee Seat in Democratic Party Caught Stealing Man’s Cash in Gambling Spot, Cashing Out Victim’s Slot Machine, Police Say

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ST. THOMAS — A woman is facing criminal charges after police say she was captured on surveillance footage taking a sum of cash and cashing out on a slot machine used by another individual.

Isheba James, 41, who filed documents with the Election System of the Virgin Islands for a seat on the Democratic Party’s Territorial Committee in the St. Thomas-St. John District, has been charged with grand larceny and petit larceny, following an incident that occurred at an establishment on April 30th. 

According to documents before the court, the complainant stated that he was playing on two slot machines side by side at Winner’s Circle located at Port of Sale in Havensight when he received an important phone call. He stated that when the phone rang he removed it from his pocket, along with $1700 cash which he placed on the corner of one of the slot machines before going outside to answer the call. Upon his return, he discovered that his money was missing and that both slot machines had been cashed out down to a zero balance. He then asked a lady at a neighboring slot machine if she saw anyone playing on his machine and she replied no. He subsequently notified a member of staff who then called the police on his behalf.

The man stated that he returned to the establishment the following day and was able to view surveillance footage. He told police that according to the footage, when he left to take the call a woman sat at his machine, removed his cash and played the balance of the money which he had left on the machines, before cashing out. One of the employees was reportedly able to identify the woman as Isheba James. 

According to the victim, he received a call from the establishment two days later, informing him that James had returned and wanted to speak with him. She spoke with him over the phone, alleging that she had only taken $82 from his slot machine and would return it to him.

He replied, “no thank you.” The police are looking for you, you can talk with them.” Two days later, police met with the employee who stated that they has also reviewed the footage and observed a young lady had cashed out the ticket from the complainant’s machine and placed that ticket into her own machine. The employee discovered that the last ticket printed from the complainant’s machine was $82.70. After checking the slot machine that James had been playing on, it was revealed that a ticket of the same value had been inserted. She did not turn in that ticket in exchange for cash. 

The employee stated that when James returned to the establishment two days after the incident, she indicated that she had cashed out someone’s ticket ‘by accident’. The employee told her “I have you on camera” to which James replied, “here’s the $82, I did not take any cash.” The employee took the money and held it for the complainant and it was later turned in to the police. The employee further told police that after she allowed the woman to speak to the complainant over the phone, James asked the employee whether she had her on surveillance stealing “this money”. The employee replied, “I don’t have that!”

When police reviewed the surveillance footage they discovered that James was playing on a machine about 16 feet away from the complainant. He was seen placing cash on the slot machine before walking away and James could be seen constantly looking over at the complainant’s slot machine. She eventually walked over to the man’s machine, looked at it and walked away, before returning to it, looking around, and then sitting in his chair. According to the fact sheet, she was seen picking up the cash and also playing on the man’s slot machine. She then cashed out of his and returned to her original machine briefly, before going to the man’s second machine, looking around and then removing a ticket from it. She was then seen inserting that ticket into the machine she had originally been playing on. According to the fact sheet, the complainant returned to his machines moments later and James was seen retrieving the ticket she had just inserted into her slot machine and hastily leaving the establishment. 

Police made contact with James over the phone on May 12th and advised her to report to the station in connection with a reported grand larceny where she may be the suspect. According to police, she chuckled and replied “today is not a good day, I will call you right back to let you know when is good!” About one hour later the investigating officer was handed an envelope containing money by a detective who stated “that’s $1700 from Isheba.”

The detective was subsequently instructed by a sergeant to return the money to James and follow the proper protocol by bringing her in to speak with the case agent and have the money documented by the Forensic Unit. 

James presented herself at the Criminal Investigation Bureau on May 17th. Her attorney Clive Rivers indicated that she was not willing to provide a statement or answer questions concerning the incident. She was then arrested and bail was set at $20,000. She was turned over to the Bureau of Corrections after being unable to post the sum.

James appeared for a hearing on Wednesday morning, where a judge ordered that she would be released on bail by signing an unsecured bond valued at $20,000. While this matter remains pending, the defendant is prohibited from returning to the establishment where the incident occurred.

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