July 01. 2013 10:58PM

Portsmouth woman gets month in jail following robbery, pursuit

Union Leader Correspondent


BRENTWOOD — A woman who police say robbed a Portsmouth pharmacy of its pain pills then crashed her truck into another car while fleeing cut a quick deal with county prosecutors prior to a grand jury hearing her case.

Cheryl Lees, 50, of Portsmouth pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft, resisting arrest and conduct after an accident for passing a threatening note to a clerk at a Rite-Aid store on May 26 in Portsmouth.

Lees entered her plea on Friday in Rockingham County Superior Court, a day after she had a hearing seeking to be freed on lower bail.

County prosecutors agreed to drop a felony robbery and possession of a controlled drug charges against her in exchange for her guilty plea.

Lees will spend 33 days behind bars, part of a one-year jail sentence that will remain largely suspended so long as she remains on good behavior for the next two years, according to court records.

Portsmouth police were called to the Rite-Aid store, located at 800 Islington St., on May 26 at 1:36 p.m.

Lees handed an employee at Rite-Aid a note that said, “everything in the safe, nothing stupid, I have someone watching for at least 15 min,” according to prosecutors. The employee handed the note to the store’s pharmacist who went to the store’s safe and put several bottles of pills in a bag, in addition to a GPS tracking device. Once Lees exited the building, the manager called 911. Officer Nicholas Small spotted a white Ford Explorer driving along Middle Street. Small didn’t have a description of the suspect’s vehicle, but noticed the driver speed up behind other vehicles traveling on the road, prosecutors said.

Small attempted to catch up to the vehicle. Lees accelerated her truck and crashed into the rear of another motorist on Lafayette Road at the intersection of Andrew Jarvis Drive, police said.

Lees’ truck veered to the left side of the road onto the shoulder, but took off again once the officer pulled in behind her.

Prosecutors said Lees then drove against traffic on Lafayette Road, causing several cars to pull off the road to avoid being hit.

She drove into the Ledgewood Drive neighborhood, where she got out of the vehicle and ran toward an apartment building, according to police.

She was arrested after a brief struggle.