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Small mistake brings potential of huge fine

A purse found on a public bench near a Sandy business allegedly contained marijuana residue

Just leaving a purse on a bench outside a Sandy business midday July 13 is causing a Sandy woman a major 'headache' because something inside the purse violated the law.

She's not going to jail for leaving the purse near Shelley Avenue and Pioneer Boulevard for a short time, but she is looking at the possibility of a huge fine when she faces a judge.

Jeanette R. Jacobs, 47, 17150 Revenue Ave., went back to the store as soon as she realized she had forgotten to pick up her purse, according to a police report.

She went back to see if anyone had taken it inside the business. She was told it had been given to a police officer, and could be found at the lost-and-found in the police department.

Meanwhile, an officer wanted to determine the owner's name and notify her the purse had been found. So he looked inside the purse for a name. Inside a wallet, he found a driver's license with Jacobs' name and address.

He also found two other things that raised his eyebrows: a multicolored glass pipe with burned residue inside and loose marijuana residue inside the bottom of the purse.

About that time, Jacobs showed up at the police department and asked if anyone had returned her purse.

The officer brought the purse out to the woman, who quickly said, 'That's my purse.'

First, he mentioned he had found a glass pipe inside while looking for identification.

'I just picked that up (at a local store),' she told him.

The officer explained the pipe had burned marijuana residue, and was not new and unused. That's when she admitted it was hers and had been used. She also responded to the officer's question, according to his report, by saying she did not have a medical marijuana card.

The officer explained he normally would just release the purse to her, but in this case he had to write a citation and seize the glass pipe.

But it was the dry residue in the bottom of her purse that caused a big stir. Especially when she was informed she would have to appear before the Sandy Municipal Court judge, and the base fine for possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana is $1,148.

'I can't pay that much,' she told the officer.

The base fine is just a guideline, he explained as he told her the judge has the ability to change the fine depending on circumstances.

The glass pipe was placed in the police property room for destruction. The woman was released with citation and purse in hand, and told to remove the residue from the purse.

The citation says her next appearance is in Municipal Court at 1 p.m. Aug. 8.