Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News
Police say Ellen Bevers, the step-niece of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, stole more than $50 worth of items while using the self-checkout at Kroger.
The attorney for the niece of Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is calling the attention surrounding his client and her shoplifting arrest a "miscarriage of justice."
Allen police arrested Ellen Bevers on Aug. 3 on suspicion of shoplifting. Her uncle's call to dispatch asking for help in getting her out of jail has made national headlines.
According to a police report, Bevers tried to leave a Kroger grocery store in Allen with $50.23 of merchandise that she had not purchased. The items included household cleaning products, lightbulbs and shampoo.
Her attorney, Todd Shapiro, said his client is mortified, saying the incident was a simple mix-up at a self-checkout station. He said Bevers offered to pay for the items, but was turned over to Allen police.
A shoplifting charge for items amounting to less than $50 is a Class C misdemeanor, which equates to a traffic ticket, Shapiro said. But Bevers was arrested on a Class B misdemeanor charge over just 23 cents, he said.
"It's a simple Class B misdemeanor; happens thousands of times across the state," he said. "She didn't have to be cuffed and stuffed and booked and taken to jail."
Bevers spent 13 hours behind bars in the Collin County Detention Center.
During that time, Dewhurst made a now-infamous phone call on her behalf. In the call, he asked to speak to an Allen police sergeant, asks for the "sheriff" and "county judge" and says that he intends "to jump into this and see to prevent this very nice lady from a miscarriage of justice and spending the night in jail."
Allen police released the call this week.
Shapiro said he believes his client's reputation has been damaged because of a grudge against her high-profile relative.
"Why is this case any different? Why is she receiving special attention? Because someone in the police department wanted to embarrass the lieutenant governor -- and that's horribly unfair to Ms. Bevers," he said. "It was a horrible experience for lady who's never been in an ounce of trouble in her life."
When the recording of the call was released, Allen police also told NBC DFW that they also have surveillance video from the Kroger store that shows Bevers allegedly separating the items she paid for and those she did not at the self-checkout register.
Police expect to file the case with the Collin County District Attorney's Office by the end of the week.