Tuesday April 12, 2011

NORTH ADAMS -- Mayor Richard J. Alcombright is asking the public to let his family privately deal with the recent arrest of his wife, Michelle, who is currently being treated for a mental illness.

Michelle Alcombright, 53, and an unidentified juvenile were arrested at a Bealle's Department Store in Ruskin, Fla., just before 7 p.m. on March 29 for allegedly shoplifting some $500 in clothing and shoes, according to Deb Carter, public information officer for the Hillsborough County, Fla., sheriff's office.

"While shopping in the store, she and a juvenile were observed on camera by the Bealle's loss prevention officers with $500 worth of merchandise that they left the store without purchasing," Carter said in a telephone interview on Monday. "The pair was stopped by the loss prevention team after they exited the store. All of the merchandise was recovered and the pair was taken into custody."

Alcombright was charged with a single count of retail theft over $300 and was released on $2,000 surety bail the following day, according to a clerk with the criminal department of the Hillsborough Clerk of Circuit Court's office. A hearing date has yet to be set.

Carter said the juvenile, whose identity was not made public because of age, was charged with a misdemeanor and released.

Mayor Alcombright, who announced last week that he will seek another term, issued a statement on Monday, asking for the public to let his family handle the matter privately.

"My wife Michelle is humiliated, ashamed and hurting deeply, and our entire family is saddened as a result of this recent situation," he said in the release. "With that said, we are no different from any other family that struggles with personal issues. The past two years have been extremely difficult for my wife as she has faced crippling anxiety, severe depression and physical health problems and she is currently in an outpatient program helping her deal with her issues.

"My interests are embedded in making sure she gets the necessary care to make her well and to become physically and emotionally healthy once again. I ask the community to allow us to handle this as it should be handled as a personal family matter. I will deal with family and personal issues as would any other husband and father."

He declined to comment further on the matter or on the juvenile involved.

Last summer, rumors arose that Michelle Alcombright had been arrested on similar shoplifting charges at the local Walmart.