Edith Portillo's booking photo, July 23, 2013 (Cherokee Co. Sheriff's Office)
Nelson City Council meeting in April, 2013
NELSON, Ga. -- A city council member in Nelson, who advocates getting tough on criminals, is herself now charged with a crime.
It's "just" a misdemeanor shoplifting case -- but it's who was arrested that's attracting attention: City Council Member Edith Portillo.
In April, Portillo helped pass the ordinance that requires every head-of-household (with exceptions) to own a gun to fight crime.
It is an ordinance that is wildly popular among some, reviled among others.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is suing the city, claiming the ordinance is unconstitutional.
The council and the police chief said in April that the "requirement" was simply a recommendation, no one would be arrested for non-compliance.
Then, on Tuesday, July 23, the 72-year-old Portillo was arrested, accused of shoplifting.
She was accused of stealing from the Wal-Mart on Riverstone Parkway in Canton, about eleven miles from her home in Nelson.
According to Canton police, it was in June when a store employee saw a woman resembling Portillo shoplift 13 items worth just under $200.
The police report lists seven of them -- some household items and a couple of Lego sets.
The spokesman for the Canton Police Department, Officer Pacer Cordry, said Friday that no one realized, at first, that it was Portillo; the store's surveillance cameras, Cordry said, later helped investigators identify the shoplifter as Portillo.
And according to the police report, the cameras also show the woman leaving in a navy blue Chevy Silverado, just like Portillo's.
Portillo was at her home Friday night, where her Silverado was parked in the driveway.
She is free on an $800 bond.
She declined to comment.
And her attorney said Friday that he may have a statement later.
Police said there is no question Portillo was in that Wal-Mart at the time of the thefts, because they have a record of her buying some items -- just not buying, they said, all the items she took with her.
Police said none of the stolen items was ever recovered.
Portillo is quoted in the Cherokee Tribune as saying she did not take them, and she plans to fight the charges.