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Chief convicted in body lotion shoplifting case

A Florida-based Navy chief was convicted Monday for stealing a bottle of Versace body lotion from the Navy Exchange at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

At a judge-only court-martial, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kathy M. Tonnah was found guilty of larceny of non-government property worth less than $1,000, according to trial records.

Navy judge Cmdr. Derek Butler ordered Tonnah to pay $1,000 and she will receive a punitive letter of reprimand, according to records and Tonnah’s defense attorney, Lt. Cmdr. Tracy High.

Tonnah declined comment Wednesday through her attorney.

The chief was at the NEX on June 2, browsing gift sets that contained perfume, lotion and shower gel, High told Navy Times last month.

Tonnah didn’t want the shower gel, so she swapped the gel out of one gift set and replaced it with lotion from another set, High said.

She paid for the modified, two-lotion gift sent and then was “confronted outside and treated like a thief,” High said.

Tonnah’s bosses at the Southeast Regional Maintenance Center tried to administratively punish her, but Tonnah refused and opted for a court-martial trial, according to her attorney.

Officials referred the larceny case to a special court-martial before a military judge, a forum she could not object to due to procedural changes in recent years, High said.

A North Carolina native, Tonnah enlisted in 2002 and reported to the maintenance center 14 years later, according to her service record.

She pinned on anchors in 2017.

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