One Michigan man may be reconsidering his recent attempt at not-so-romantic proposal. After purchasing an engagement ring at the bargain price of $29.62, William Cornelius then proposed to girlfriend Sheri Moore, 20, over the loudspeaker at a Bay City Walmart. But according The Smoking Gun (TSG), things went significantly downhill from there.
The 25-year-old Cornelius and Moore left Walmart en route to a Spencer’s Gifts store at Bay City Mall. That’s where Cornelius stole a haul of sexually-themed items worth a grand total of $80.93. Undersheriff Troy Cunningham told TSG that the loot included a “Bride-To-Be” thong, vibrator, “BJ Blast” oral sex candy and an edible thong.
Police were called regarding the theft and arrived to discover Cornelius asleep at a table in the food court. He explained that he’d taken the items for his fiancée, but that didn’t deter authorities from arresting him for retail fraud.
Making matters worse, police also discovered that Moore had taken earrings and a necklace from the Walmart where it all started. She claimed that Cornelius had shoplifted the jewelry, but surveillance video indicated otherwise and revealed she had put the items in her purse.
Moore was arrested for larceny. She and Cornelius are both free on bond in the wake of the misdemeanor charges.
Cornelius’ charge may create added complications in light of the three years of probation he’s serving for a 2014 felony conviction. He and a relative were convicted for “ethnic intimidation” after attacking three black men who’d walked near their residence.
“It is sad that the color of a person’s skin can attract attention because they simply are walking through a neighborhood,” Bay County Circuit Judge Harry P. Gill said at the time of sentencing.
Cornelius’ cousin and codefendant Joshua M. Christe reportedly attributed his actions to intoxication. Judge Gill wasn’t particularly compelled by the explanation.
“Alcohol and drugs, they don’t make you believe what you believe; they simply affect your inhibitions,” Gill added. “You have an attitude toward people of other skin that is intolerable and is unfortunately too prevalent in our society. I describe it as a malignancy in our society. What you did is intolerable.”
Both Christe and Cornelius pleaded guilty to the charges.
According to police, Christe had initially explained the incident by saying, “I figured one of them had a pistol because that is how ‘they’ are.”
When an officer asked what his use of “they” implied, Christe added, “Well, you know, black guys always have guns.”
For his part, Cornelius admitted at his plea hearing to using the ’N’ word during the altercation.
Moore is also subject to an open larceny case after allegedly stealing a cell phone from a Bay City resident.
It probably wasn’t the engagement for which the couple had hoped, but such are the consequences of ill-advised petty crime.
For the record, Moore had indeed said yes to the proposal to the delight of other onlooking shoppers. Per the police report obtained by TSG, they, “can be seen hugging and kissing following the proposal.”
On Jan. 5, Bay County District Judge Mark E. Janer arraigned Cornelius on the the charge. He could be punished with up to 93 days in jail and a fine for $500. His case is scheduled for a pretrial conference on Jan. 29, according to MLive.
Cornelius reportedly told officers he had taken the pain reliever Tramadol, suggesting an altered mindset was in part to blame for his actions at the mall.
One can only wonder if it had anything to do with the proposal, as well. For better or worse, however, these two certainly appear to be an appropriate match.