LANCASTER – Miss Lancaster Kelsey Evenson gave up her crown this week after pageant officials became aware of a petty theft conviction that occurred during Evenson’s reign.
The 19-year-old voluntarily resigned her title on Wednesday, said Sandy Smith, CEO of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Miss Lancaster pageant.
Evenson was crowned Miss Lancaster in April 2013, and she was arrested for shoplifting at a local Macy’s in June 2013. Evenson was charged with one count of petty theft on Aug. 6, 2013, according to court records.
She appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom on Aug. 19 and pleaded no contest (which has the same effect as a guilty plea).
According to court records, Evenson was placed on 36 months summary probation, ordered to pay fines totaling $906, and ordered to stay away from all Macy’s stores. Evenson was also sentenced to serve one day in county jail. In lieu of the day in county jail, Evenson was granted the option to submit to a judge ordered “booking and release” by Dec. 16, court records show.
Evenson appeared at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station jail on Dec. 11, was booked (photographed and fingerprinted) at 11:16 a.m., and was released from custody around 3:45 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
As of Thursday, Evenson had released no formal statement on the matter. She continued to carry out her duties as Miss Lancaster up until her resignation this week. The Lancaster Chamber Board became aware of Evenson’s criminal conviction on Friday, Jan. 10, and they were dealing with the matter internally, Smith said.
The petty theft conviction was a grain of truth in the many defamatory statements and threats being made against Evenson via social media, Smith said. She said a group of disgruntled pageant moms had been cyberbullying Evenson for months and stalking her at various city events. Smith said Evenson has shown “remarkable strength” in dealing with the “constant attacks.”
“The [Chamber] Board and myself, we think a lot of Kelsey. She’s a really good girl who made a bad decision…” Smith said. “It’s unfortunate the way she was publicly humiliated and bullied. We’re all very sad about that.”
The Miss Lancaster position will remain vacant until April, when a new Miss Lancaster is selected, Smith said.