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Arrest nets woman and her 20 aliases

BURLINGTON - The simple question "what's your name?" could yield more than one answer, if your query is to a Portsmouth woman arrested

Wednesday for shoplifting at the Wal-Mart Store in Burlington.

The woman, whose real name is Terri A. Francis, was taken into custody by Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies after store security allegedly caught her outside the store with $1,643.52 in stolen merchandise. When deputies began to investigate the incident, they found Francis uses 20 aliases, nine social security numbers and has a criminal history that includes convictions for shoplifting, theft and grand larceny.

Francis allegedly went through the Wal-Mart store Wednesday, placing items in a plastic tub she had lined with aluminum foil. Store security officers allege that Francis filled the tub with more than 95 DVDs as well as other items. Francis allegedly attempted to confuse security by changing her shirt and changing her hairstyle along the way. Security officers monitored her behavior and when she exited the store, they stopped her.

Deputies said when they asked Francis for her name and social security number, Francis told them she was Terri Black. When the social security number she gave them was entered into sheriff's office computers, deputies learned that number had been issued to a person other than the one they were questioning.

When Francis was arrested for shoplifting and taken to the Lawrence County Jail, she was fingerprinted.

When the fingerprints were sent to the National Fingerprinting Center in Clarksburg, W.Va., the woman who said she was Terri Black was revealed to be Terri A. Francis, whose criminal history includes one outstanding warrant out of Bartow, Ga., and numerous previous convictions.

Francis has also been charged with falsification of information. She remains in jail and is expected to be arraigned today in Lawrence County Municipal Court.