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story.lead_photo.caption Tyler-Anne Whetstone

A Joplin woman pleaded guilty to charges she faced for stealing checks from mailboxes in Cole County in July 2020.

During a hearing before Cole County Judge Dan Green, Tyler-Anne Whetstone, 30, pleaded guilty to six counts of felony forgery and one count of felony possession of a controlled substance. She was placed on five years of supervised probation and ordered to serve 120 days shock detention, with credit for time served. If she fails to meet conditions of her probation, she faces seven years in prison.

Also charged in the case is Jamie Hodges, 43, of Eldon, who is facing multiple forgery and stealing charges. His case will be before Judge Green next month.

Deputies responded to a report of a theft in the 2700 block of Route T, according to a Cole County Sheriff's Department probable cause statement.

The victim said he saw a vehicle pull up to his mailbox and take out the contents.

Deputies later spotted the suspect vehicle on Route NN and reportedly saw it commit a traffic violation by crossing the center line.

The vehicle was stopped with Hodges driving, and Whetstone was his passenger. Hodges had an active warrant out of Jasper County, and Whetstone had an active warrant out of Newton County. Both were arrested.

Deputies searched the vehicle and reportedly found multiple pieces of mail under the center console. There were 10 checks from one victim totaling $1,325. Another check for $200 from a victim's business was found, along with two checks from two different victims from another jurisdiction totaling $438.

Deputies said they found three sets of counterfeit checks using information from victims to make the checks look authentic.

Hodges and Whetstone claimed not to know anything about the checks, but deputies said she was heard on a patrol car camera recording saying, "They found where I hid the (expletive)."

Whetstone denied to deputies she was in possession of narcotics. However, using a body scanner, jailers found she had hidden something on her person. When she turned it over to the jailers, they determined it was a glass pipe containing methamphetamine.

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