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Chief Apologizes To Thief For Telling People About Her Crime

A Rhode Island police chief issued an apology to a thief who was featured on the department's Facebook page.

Warwick, RI – The chief of the Warwick Police Department (WPD) has issued an apology to a woman his officers charged with larceny, after he heard a talk radio show criticizing his department for shaming the thief on social media.

The theft took place on Nov. 4. 2017, at a Burlington Coat Factory, and was captured by the store’s security camera, The Province reported.

The video showed an elderly woman as she pushed a cart in the store. As a nearby shopper turned away from the woman, something fell from her pocket, and the elderly woman quickly snatched it up.

The dropped item turned out to be a $100 bill.

A young boy in the video watched as the elderly thief returned to her cart, at which point she motioned to the child to keep quiet about what he had just seen.

The boy’s mouth fell open as he looked around in disbelief.

In an effort to find the woman, WPD posted a video of the theft to the department’s Facebook page on Jan. 5, WJAR reported.

“The 2017 Grandmother of the Year Award goes to…….this female observed the victim drop a $100 and within a couple seconds walks over and grabs it off the floor,” the post read. “She then conceals it in her purse while putting her finger across her mouth to warn a juvenile male to not say anything. His reaction says it all…”

The post concluded with a request for anyone who could identify the woman to contact the WPD.

WPD Captain Jamie Calise explained that because the woman saw the money fall from the rightful owner’s hand, her actions constituted larceny, The Province reported.

The department’s social media post helped to identify the thief as 76-year-old Dorothy Andrade, who was ultimately charged with misdemeanor larceny, WJAR reported.

But on Jan. 11, WPD Chief Colonel Stephen McCartney became upset about the Facebook post, after he heard a radio talk show criticizing his department over the incident, as pointed out by Turtleboy Sports.

According to WPRO, the chief called in to the Dan Yorke Show and broadcast his apology on behalf of the department.

“Let’s certainly discuss any comments about her character, obviously that was wrong & I take full responsibility and I apologize to you,” Col. McCartney told Yorke. “I apologize to all of the listeners. I apologize to the woman.”

“I don’t want people, human beings that we come into contact, I don’t want them characterized in any way that subjects them to public ridicule,” Col. McCartney told WJAR. “That’s just inappropriate.”

Instead, he publicly ridiculed his own officers.

“It was uncalled for. It was unprofessional. And we need to clean up our act here,” he told WJAR. “Sometimes, I think some of our officers occasionally, I don’t know whether they try to get hip to the times, but I don’t consider that hip.”

Andrade also seemed to be upset about the post, and refused to speak with WJAR about the incident or Col. McCartney’s apology.

“You know what you did to my name?” the woman complained through her door, according to WJAR.

Col. McCartney refused to say whether or not the officer who made the post would be reprimanded, but was adamant such posts would not be tolerated in the future – even though it helped police to solve a crime.

“I don’t want to see that happen again. Period,” Col. McCartney told WJAR.

Do you think the chief should have apologized to the thief? We’d like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

HollyMatkin - January Wed, 2018

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