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Woman pleads guilty, goes to jail

Telegraph photo by DEAN SHALHOUP Allison Grande, who was sentenced to 1-3 years in State Prison Tuesday on theft charges, listens to Judge Charles Temple's sentencing remarks at the Superior Court hearing.

NASHUA – Although Allison Grande’s most recent arrest, on Friday in Manchester, led to a Tuesday hearing in which she was sentenced to one to three years in State Prison, she nevertheless believes the arrest “is, quite honestly, the best thing that could happen to me.”

That’s because Grande, 37, currently of 390 Cedar St. in Manchester, “intended to come here today and take responsibility … to plead guilty … to avail herself of programs” offered in prison, “and get started,” her attorney, Sarah Amorin, told Judge Charles Temple.

In a fairly unusual turn of events, what was supposed to be Grande’s arraignment and bail hearing on the Class A felony charge of theft – accusing her of stealing jewelry worth $2,200 from Macy’s in Nashua in January – became a plea and sentencing hearing at Grande’s request.

On Grande’s behalf, Amorin readily accepted the prosecution’s recommended prison sentence, which comes with a court order that Grande pay restitution to Macy’s, stay away from the store and otherwise remain on good behavior.

The prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Lin Li, said police investigating the Macy’s theft eventually developed Grande as a suspect, and issued a warrant for her arrest.

She was pulled over in Manchester Friday, and, on Tuesday, admitted she identified herself with her sister’s name.

As part of their investigation, Li said, police viewed store security video in an attempt to identify the female suspect they saw “leave the store without paying for” the jewelry.

Nashua detectives spoke with a witness, then contacted Manchester and Salem police, believing those departments may be familiar with the suspect.

They located booking photos at both departments that matched the Nashua suspect, who turned out to be Grande, Li said.

Grande, according to Li, has a significant criminal record that goes back a number of years and includes several felony and misdemeanor convictions for drug possession, theft and probation violations, most all of which involved suspended jail or prison sentences.

Meanwhile, Grande appeared willing, almost eager, to plead guilty, also telling Temple that she “deserves to be punished for what I did … instead of just sliding” along.

Temple, in turn, praised Grande for taking responsibility and for her desire to get involved in programs at the prison “to help you stop this cycle” of repeated brushes with the law.

He also agreed with Grande’s assessment of the disposition of her case.

“This may, in an odd way, be one of the better days in your life,” Temple said with a smile.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_DeanS.