Elderly Woman Busted For Stealing Goods From Trade Show

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(Memphis) An elderly woman faces a couple charges after detectives say she stole from 20 different vendors at an Agricenter trade show.

Lela Smith spent Sunday morning setting up her company`s booth at the Spring Market Show. It’s been a busy weekend for the new business owner at the Agricenter.

“It was crowded, people looking around and over here,” said Smith, owner of Mix-It-Up.

But not all business is good business, in the hustle and bustle Saturday afternoon; investigators say 73-year-old Vivian Chalmers swiped about $1,000 worth of stuff from 20 different vendors.

“They came over and asked if I was missing something. I was like ‘I don’t know,” said Smith.

Smith didn`t know it, but she was missing a pack of ten dollar wine mix.

“When I went over there and saw all the stuff I was like, ‘oh where did she put it,” expressed Smith.

The stuff was hidden in the senior citizen`s purse and bags. Detectives say the unsuspecting elderly woman even stuffed some of the swiped goods in her clothes.

“Jewelry, purses, clothes, scarves, soap, it was amazing,” said Smith.

“I definitely think it`s a violation. We work doing something we like to do. Nobody likes to be stolen from,” said vendor, Melony Bratton.

In this case, security at the show caught Chalmers before she got to the door. Her arrest is keeping the vendors at ease for the last day of the show.

“Somebody`s got your back and watching out for your best interest,” said Bratton.

“We were trusting and letting people come in and out, so we to be a little more careful,” said Smith.

Smith says she’ll be a little more cautious, but the theft isn`t stopping her from selling at trade shows.

Vendors say this wasn’t the only theft at the Spring Market Show this year. They tell News Channel 3, Friday, a woman was busted for stealing about a $100 worth of stuff and hiding it in her wheelchair and prosthetic leg.


  • patricia woods

    “Unsuspecting elderly woman?” She was definitely NOT unsuspecting. Do you have an editor on duty?

  • MemphisDad

    The police should get a warrant and search her home. Very likely this has been going on for years.

    • bambam84

      As is the usual in Memphis news. “A couple charges,” should be,”A couple OF charges.”
      And if it’s a thousand of dollars in goods from multiple vendors, wouldn’t there be more than,”A Couple Charges?”

    • Teacher 1

      She does not have any grandchildren and she is in treatment for cancer after being in remission for 12 years. Its obvious that she is in some type of distress and you people are making ignorant comments. No one has mentioned how educated she is or that she does not have any other records.

      • John Snow

        Just for the record the article does not mention her cancer or education. It does not mention much about her except she stole some items. As a teacher you should not jump to conclusions. Yes, there are racists on her every night, and I do not think I jumped to any conclusions.

  • Arthur

    A black shoplifting….stop the presses. I wonder why Sears closed in Hickory Hill and Macy’s too. Go figure.

  • Lindsey

    Stop with the racist comments because no one says anything about whites who are child molestors and can be registered and walk the streets, moreover live right next to you. Let’s not mention the heroin epidemic that’s hurting our country, or marrying your cousin, sleeping with animals, killing black boys and their own children in Florida, and getting away with it! Not to mention, STEALING from Walmart and returning the items to get to store credit, and sell the store credit cards to people for the value they STOLE (that’s publish article), and white women, who were raised not to date black men (since their such monkeys), fall in love, with Mandingo , then when things don’t go their way, they say “Tyrone hit me”.

    Last but not least, I don’t recall blacks eating 17 people, then going to make chocolate💯

    You whites probably have black in you too.

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