A West Plains woman already facing a charge of probation violation on a 2018 conviction has been charged with first-degree tampering after allegedly being found with a truck reported as stolen in her possession.

Regina Jo Hilleman, 40, South Howell Street, was charged Wednesday related to a May 15 incident observed by West Plains Police Officer Justin Brown and later investigated by Sgt. Torey Thompson of the Howell County Sheriff’s Department.

Brown stated he saw Hilleman driving a pickup truck and ran the plates on the vehicle, reported stolen in Texas County but not yet entered into law enforcement databases. Brown learned the next day the vehicle had been reported stolen and spoke with Hilleman about it. She allegedly told the officer that two men had the vehicle, but refused to name them or give the location of the truck.

Brown told Hilleman to contact him when she knew where the truck was. On May 17, Hilleman reportedly called Brown and told him the truck was parked at the Rest Inn Motel on south U.S. 63, in the jurisdiction of the Howell County Sheriff’s Department.

Thompson then took over the investigation and the truck was towed and returned to the owner. Thompson reportedly viewed security camera footage from the motel that appeared to show Hilleman arriving in the stolen truck, parking it, then leaving with someone in another vehicle.

When confronted with the evidence, Hilleman allegedly identified other people involved with the vehicle during the time of the incidents and told Thompson where the vehicle had been, moving it before giving the location to law enforcement.   

Hilleman was charged June 12 with distribution of a controlled substance in a protected location when she was reportedly found with about 40 grams of a substance believed to be methamphetamine, digital scales and plastic baggies.

The house where the alleged drugs were found is located within 500 yards of Wonderland Day Care and Preschool on East Main and Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) on Broadway, both considered protected locations.

Hilleman was arrested the next day on an outstanding warrant for probation violation on a 2018 conviction of distribution of a controlled substance with a ten year suspended execution of sentence.

She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in the latest drug charge on Friday and a hearing on the probation violation charge on July 26. 

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