By Linda Cicoira

A plea agreement in Northampton Circuit Court brought a five-year suspended-sentence recently for a man who admitted to stealing a beer, in 2019, from Food Lion, in Exmore.

Forty-two-year-old Cory Eugene Johnson, of Melfa, pleaded guilty to a third or subsequent offense of petty larceny, which was a felony in December 2019. Such a crime is now considered a misdemeanor.

In the agreement with Northampton Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jack Thornton, which was approved by Judge Glen A. Tyler, Johnson was sentenced to five years with all but the two days he had already served suspended.

The crime occurred around noon. Police were alerted and saw a video of Johnson taking the beer from a store cooler and putting it under his shirt, Thornton told Tyler. He was outside the store when he was confronted and admitted to taking the beverage and drinking it.

Thornton said he made the agreement to get the older case over with and to save the Felt store manager’s time in coming to court “over a several-dollar beer.”

Johnson had been convicted of other petty thefts in 2015 and 2016. According to the agreement, the defendant will be on supervised probation for two years and good behavior for five years. He is also banned from visiting the store.