HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith was arrested and charged with fourth-degree theft Thursday, according to Madison County jail records.
Keith released a statement Friday morning:
Yesterday, after purchasing items at the self-checkout at Walmart, I left the store with a 20$ pair of headphones in my cart that I failed to pay for. I respect the professionalism of the Walmart staff and law enforcement officers involved with this matter.
I can’t express how grateful I am to have family, friends, and loved ones that have supported me, but I have to be accountable. No one is above the law and as someone who works for and aspires to devotedly represent the best of the people of Huntsville, I can’t make these type of mistakes. I know I am better than this.
To my D1 family, my only goal has always been to bring light to how truly amazing you are. I apologize… I am truly sorry that this time my actions have taken the spotlight off of you and placed the focus onto me. It won’t happen again.
To my greater Huntsville family and friends. I am just as sorry. I’ll work to meet the standards you’ve come to expect from me moving forward and I promise to be more responsible in the future.Devyn Keith
According to the Huntsville Police Department (HPD), officers were dispatched to 6140 University Drive just before 1 p.m. on an unrelated call. While on-scene, officers were alerted to a shoplifting suspect.
Keith is charged with one count of theft of property – shoplifting, $500 or less. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and a maximum $6,000 fine.
He was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Madison County Jail. He was later released at 5:34 p.m. on Thursday.
The City of Huntsville released a statement following the arrest:
The City of Huntsville is aware of the situation. Huntsville Police are handling this case in accordance with standard practices and procedures.Kelly Scrimsher, Director of Communications
He was first elected to the Huntsville City Council in October 2016 and was re-elected in 2020.
Keith is currently serving his second term on the Huntsville City Council. His district covers a large part of North Huntsville, including Alabama A&M University and parts of downtown.
Colleagues and associates have responded on social media with both shock and dismay on the arrest of Keith, a popular and respected member of Huntsville City Council for District 1.
The council works closely with the Huntsville Police Department, approves its budget and recently voted to hire a new chief, Kirk Giles. Keith abstained from that vote.
It’s not immediately clear how this will affect Keith’s future on the council. It is a misdemeanor charge, but elected officials stay in office even pending felony cases.
An example of this is former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, who was charged with multiple counts of theft and using his office for personal gain back in August 2019. However, Blakely, Alabama’s longest-serving sheriff, remained in office while his case was pending.
Blakely was later arrested, bonded out, and served as sheriff for nearly two years under the felony charge before he was convicted in August 2021. It is unknown when he is set to begin his prison sentence.
News 19 reached out to the Huntsville Municipal Court to determine if it will hear the Keith case or recuse itself — given the council’s role in overseeing judge appointments and budget.