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Paula Deen housekeeper sentenced to prison for jewelry theft

December 21, 2010 |  3:31 pm

Paula-deen Paula Deen got an early Christmas gift: The former housekeeper of the celebrity chef has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing jewelry from Deen's home in Georgia.

Housekeeper Mary Alice White pleaded guilty to theft charges last week, admitting she took jewelry from the Food Network star's home over the course of her nine months of employment there. She was arrested May 5 after attempting to pawn an $18,000 pair of earrings and later trying to pawn a watch and bracelet. About $100,000 worth of jewelry was reported missing, authorities said. She'll also be on probation for six years.

"Mary White is the most feared and destroying kind of thief you may ever run up against," Deen told the judge in the case, according to the Savannah Morning News.

"Mary was a master at making you think she cares about you. ... She used our love and kindness against" us, Deen said.

The Georgia paper said White has a similar conviction from 1993.

Of local note, Paula Deen will be the grand marshall of the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

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— Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo:  Paula Deen in April. Credit: Jeff Christensen / Associated Press.

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