Thief Sentenced to Wear Sandwich Board

A woman who stole $4.52 worth of fuel was ordered to stand outside the gas station Friday wearing a sandwich board sign that declared: "I was caught stealing gas."

Sherelle Purnell obeyed the court order, although by the time she arrived 90 minutes late to her noon sentence, the crowd of people that gathered to watch her had dispersed.

"There were parents who came with their children, wanting to teach them a lesson," said Jan Phipps, manager of Gordy's Tiger Mart, which pushed for the unorthodox punishment.

Purnell, 18, who was caught on surveillance tape speeding away from the gas pump, walked along the convenience shop's grassy storefront as passing drivers honked horns and made catcalls.

Andrew Black, who stopped by on his lunch break, was critical of the punishment and converted an old beer poster into a sign protesting high gas prices.

"What is this, the Middle Ages?" said Black.

Purnell declined to comment.

Some passers-by considered the punishment to be a good deterrent.

"Embarrassment is the best way to deal with these things," Randy Jedlicka said.