Ellicott City woman pleads guilty to stealing liquor from flood-damaged restaurant

WASHINGTON — A 30-year old woman has pleaded guilty to stealing liquor from an Ellicott City restaurant after devastating flash floods ravaged the city’s historic downtown last summer.

Madeline Eve Scott, of Ellicott City, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree burglary charges Tuesday morning, the Office of the State’s Attorney’s for Howard County said in a news release.

Prosecutors said Scott was spotted July 31 carrying four bottles of liquor out of Portalli’s restaurant on Main Street by one of the restaurant’s owners, Evan Brown, who had gone to survey flood damage. When he confronted her, he said she cursed at him and threw one of the bottles at him, which struck him on the arm. Brown said he was able to recover three of the bottles.

Scott denied that she used profanity or that the bottle struck Brown. Initially, Scott had also been charged with second-degree assault and theft, but prosecutors dropped those charges, according to online court records.

The confrontation came after a torrential downpour July 30 caused severe flooding in Ellicott City, killing two stranded motorists and causing millions in damage to Main Street businesses.

Parts of Ellicott City’s downtown were closed for months after the flooding, and some businesses are still shuttered. Portalli’s is still rebuilding from the flooding, according to a Feb. 3 blog post on the restaurant’s website.

In a victim impact statement, restaurant owner Evan Brown called the theft a “hateful and unsympathetic act by a stranger,” according to the state’s attorney’s office.

Howard County Circuit Judge Lenore Gelfman sentenced Scott to three days in jail and 18 months of supervised probation. The judge also ordered Scott to successfully complete mental health treatment and write a letter of apology to Brown. Scott completed 83 hours of community service before being sentenced.

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