MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A 53-year-old Lowcountry woman was released from jail this week after spending almost a week in jail for a clean lot violation.
According to Mt. Pleasant police, Linda Ruggles was issued a citation for clean lot violation by a town enforcement office on Dec. 15, 2010. The citation was issued because of the condition of her property and the amount of debris in the yard.
After numerous attempts to help Ruggles, police say she refused to cooperate and was arrested.
Police were given the authority to arrest Ruggles back on Sept. 7, 2011 when Ruggles was found guilty of a clean lot violation. A bench warrant was issued mandating Ruggles to pay $480 or spend 10 days in jail.
After the bench warrant was issued, a Mt. Pleasant police officer went to Ruggles' home to discuss her options. According to a police report, the officer informed Ruggles that he was sympathetic with her financial difficulties and although the warrant authorized him to arrest her, he wanted to help.
The officer told Ruggles that he was willing to try to find someone to help her clean up her yard and residence or help pay for the fine. Ruggles said she wasn't interested.
The report states that Ruggles became defiant and loudly informed him that she was being prosecuted by the town enforcement officer. She said she was unable to clean up the area because of financial difficulties and that she had to leave for work at Harris Teeter.
Despite numerous attempts to help Ruggles, police say she refused and continued to be defiant. Police Chief Harry Sewell even tried to help Ruggles. He went to her home to offer assistance, but she didn't answer. He left his business card, but she never called.
After several complaints from neighbors, Sewell authorized officers to serve the bench warrant on Ruggles. On Dec. 14, 2011, officers went to the home, but no one answered.
A few hours later, police conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle believed to belong to Ruggles. The vehicle was driven by her sister, who told police that she lived with Ruggles, but didn't know where her sister was.
On Jan. 5, police went to Harris Teeter on Long Point Road where they believed Ruggles worked. As she exited the store she was placed under arrest. Ruggles served several days in jail and was released this week.