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Idaho woman could face 10 years for stealing beer

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - An Idaho woman could face up to 10 years in prison for stealing a can of low-cost, high-alcohol beer from a store in Boise, authorities said on Friday.

Victoria Hill, 35, of Boise, was taken into custody on Thursday after store clerks told officers she slipped a 24-ounce can of Steel Reserve beer into her purse and left without paying for it, according to a police report.

The beer sells for $1.50 or less per can, according to an informal survey of Idaho retailers.

In a statement, Boise officers said they charged Hill with felony burglary for going into the shop "with the intent to commit the theft," which is punishable in Idaho by a prison sentence of no less than one year and a maximum of 10 years.

"She did stick the beer in her purse, which kind of says intent right there, and she walked past several open registers before exiting the establishment," Boise Police Department spokesman Chuck McClure told Reuters.

McClure said a review of Hill's criminal history suggested the appropriate charge was felony burglary, a crime he said is frequently committed in Idaho's capital city but more often is linked to clothing and other types of merchandise.

Idaho court records show Hill in 2004 pleaded guilty in Twin Falls to grand theft and last year was convicted in Boise of driving an unsafe or improperly equipped vehicle.

Hill could not be reached for comment.

Officials on Friday said Hill has requested but not yet been assigned a public defender. An aide for the county prosecutor's office said the incident had yet to be reviewed.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)

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