Reporter Caught Shoplifting Says She Was On The Job

A TV traffic reporter in Connecticut was snagged walking out of a Sears carrying several items she allegedly didn’t pay for. But, says the journalist, everything should be cool, because it was all part of a story she was working on.

The 33-year-old was caught at the store in Wesport, CT, with a Hawaiian shirt, a bottle of cologne, two pairs of earrings and a necklace.

According to police, she had taken these items with her into a changing room and no longer appeared to be carrying them when she exited.

An inspection of the room found the tags for the items, but nothing was done until the reporter exited the Sears, at which point she was approached by security.

When questioned by police at the store, she “stated that she is a freelance news reporter, and she was doing something on the side.”

Well, she’s definitely freelancing now because the TV station that had employed her has put her on leave while she is “attending to personal matters.”

She will be arraigned July 6 on a charge of sixth-degree larceny.

Reporter: Shoplifting was part of a “freelance” assignment [CTpost.com]

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  1. nybiker says:

    “Sixth-degree larceny” – When did Kevin Bacon get involved in determining degrees of larceny?

    • Supes says:

      CT paralegal here, seen lots of this.

      Sixth-degree larceny just means it’s a misdemeanor offense where the goods were worth $250 or less. Punishable by up to 3 months in jail or up to $500. Assuming it’s her first offense, she’ll probably accept a plea bargain and just pay a fine.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Is there 4th, 5th degree ?

      • guroth says:

        From what I’ve heard, it costs about $50 a day to house someone in jail.

        So essentially the options are “Cost the state $4500, or pay the state $500″ ?

      • mythago says:

        I’m dying to know what the other five degrees are, and whether there are any after sixth.

        • jacques says:

          6th is the lowest.
          5th – $251-500
          4th – $501-1000
          3rd – $1,001-5,000
          2nd – $5,001-10,000
          1st – $10,001+
          With penalties increasing on each level, from a class C misdemesnor on the 6th to class B felony for the 1st.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      Winona Ryder’s in there somewhere.

      • MaxPower says:

        -Former Sears CEO Edward Brennan had previously been the Vice Chairman at Saks Fifth Avenue
        -Saks Fifth Avenue is where actress Winona Ryder stole merchandise
        -Winona Ryder was in Edward Scissor Hands with Johnny Depp
        -Johnny Depp was in Before Night Falls with Sean Penn
        -Sean Penn was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Her statement was factual. When she said “she was doing something on the side,” she was referring to the shoplifting.

  3. Randell says:

    I wonder if she could use that excuse if she were buying crack, or working as a hooker, or stole a car. How about trying to sneak a bomb on a plane?

    • Julia789 says:

      Wasn’t there someone caught downloading kiddie porn, who claimed to the judge that he was writing a book on the subject, so he had to do real time research? And he was excused for the crime? Sad.

      • Azzizzi says:

        Pete Townsend?

        • Charmander says:

          If you don’t know who Pete Townshend is, you can look him up on the internet, instead of posting a comment that shows your ignorance.

          Thanks.

          • Julia789 says:

            Actually I think more than one case has been on the news, of a sicko downloading that stuff getting caught and saying it was for “research purposes” (I believe a priest in a high profile court case used that excuse as well.) So I think it is reasonable for someone to put a question mark after the name, to ask me if that is the case I was referring to since there has been more than one.

          • psm321 says:

            How about you read the thread and see that he was providing a suggestion for who the person Julia789 was thinking of might be, instead of showing your ignorance with your stupid snarky comment?

      • Angus99 says:

        The Pete Townsend defense. And it breaks my heart to say that, because I love the music of the Who.

        • Julia789 says:

          Ah yes, that is who it was. When I heard the defense, I kept thinking – If you’re going to research children exploited on the internet, why not just interview the detectives who work undercover online, and sit in with them while they do their work in the police station?

          Now any sicko downloading kiddie stuff can just write a few lousy fake book pages and say “Oh but I am researching a book!”

        • lordargent says:

          the who?

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      She should have said Dr. House wanted her to do it.

  4. DanRydell says:

    Wow, there are at least six degrees of larceny?

    • tbax929 says:

      In Connecticut, it’s for items valued under $250. You can actually get 3 months in jail and fined for up to $500.

  5. iggy21 says:

    Hmm, I wonder if a news reporter can go around setting fires to houses for an exposé on the response time of firefighters…

  6. unchainedmuse says:

    Looks like she’ll also be getting six degrees of separation – from her job!

  7. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    Common sense would dictate that you contact the store manager to get the okay for her story so that she couldn’t be prosecuted. Being that this is common sense, I have a hard time believing that this is anything other than a petty theft. However, IANAR (reporter :P).

    • myrna_minkoff says:

      Theoretically, if she was really working on a story, and part of the angle was that the store manager was careless/in on the fraud, she couldn’t contact them in advance. (Not to mention, it doesn’t sound terribly newsworthy.) But she would’ve at least informed her editor and possibly the local police to say, “Yo, this is what I’m doing, so if you get called to pick me up, you know the deal.”

      Pretty clear this has nothing at all to do with a story.

      • aja175 says:

        Not to mention call corporate PR and loss prevention.

      • Azzizzi says:

        I don’t think it would be a good idea to call the store manager, loss prevention, or anyone else. If I was a store manager and someone called me saying they were going to do a story on how easy it is to shoplift from my store, I’d decline to cooperate and alert the police that I think someone is pulling a scam. How could it possibly be beneficial to the store to allow someone to do this?

        I know stores have done this from a completely different angle, where they hired security firms to test their security, which makes sense when you’re trying to improve security.

  8. El_Fez says:

    Hmmm, seems perfectly reasonable to me!

  9. jason in boston says:

    When a reporter does these things, aren’t the real police usually notified beforehand? Or the “lead” LP for the district? We did security audits in the military all of the time. As long as we told someone in charge that we would trust to not tell the people we were testing, no one got in trouble.

    With that said – this lady is a thief.

    Why don’t you have a seat over here.

  10. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    If she was legitimately working on such a story … how hard would it be to do a bit of footwork in advance? I mean, if I was a journalist, and I wanted to do a story on petty crimes like shoplifting, and thought it’d be neat to give a sort of first-hand-account, I’d try and clear things with the store in advance. Executive management isn’t always on the floor–and if they’re “in” on the notion, presented in just the right light, they might be willing to play along.

    “Hi, Store Management? I’m [Redacted], journalist for [Blank]. I’m doing a story on shoplifting and I’d like to use your store as a sort of demonstration piece. I’d like to arrange a good time to give it a shot, and maybe sign up an agreement that if I get caught by your LP team, that you know it was for research for this story. If I don’t get caught, I’ll return your product promptly.”

    • Cantras says:

      This is exactly correct. Even if she apparently is a reporter actually employed(not anymore!) by a newspaper, this would not be the way to go about doing a story.

      /actual newspaper person

  11. Big Ant says:

    Maybe next time Windows releases a new OS I will steal it and if I get caught tell them: I am a Software Engineer and I am doing a little work on the side to test this OS, and maybe make a recommendation to the company…

  12. Nick says:

    Do less time if you steal the Goldman Sachs way.

  13. Mr_Mantastic says:

    Wht srprs, sh’s blck.

    • Daverson says:

      What a surprise, you’re an asshole.

    • Bativac says:

      Agree on the asshole comment. Cumon man. This is the 21st century. Give up on the good old fashioned racism.

      I flagged this but I’m not sure if it went through.

    • dolemite says:

      Shhh, this isn’t Ebaums.

    • Julia789 says:

      Oh please. It actually is surprising, considering the amount of white trash in that Post Road shopping mall.

      • drjayphd says:

        Hey, as long as the Post Mall’s denizens can look down on Waterbury… (Seriously, Brass Mill’s the saddest mall I’ve ever seen.)

        • Julia789 says:

          LOL you made my day. I went there once, years and years ago when I happened to be in the area, and it was horrific. The Post mall is a luxury resort compared to that place.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      Awesome comment, WTPOS.

    • Javin says:

      “The racial composition of the US population as of 2008 was 79.79% White American, 12.84% African American”…”The racial composition of the US prison and jail population as of 2008 was 33.44% White American, 40.21% African American.”

      But we all know that’s ONLY because the white man doesn’t get sent to prison. Has nothing to do with the actual crimes being committed.

    • MuffinSangria says:

      Yeah, cause white people NEVER shoplift. Cough, cough, Winona, cough, Ryder, cough.

    • PanCake BuTT says:

      Scumbag! Flagged !

    • proliance says:

      Wow. Maybe Mr_Mantastic meant to use his inner voice rather than his Internet voice.

  14. Bativac says:

    Right! The traffic reporter was doing a freelance story on shoplifting! That makes sense!

  15. zibby says:

    I buy this story. Nobody would risk being caught shoplifting for Sears merchandise. Also, if you got caught your friends and family would know that you went to Sears. Not worth the risk, there’s gotta be another explanation.

  16. AllanG54 says:

    Was she reenacting a Wynona Ryder crime scene?

  17. Minj says:

    Sixth degree? Reminds me of that episode of Tail Spin where Rebecca Cunninham won the lottery and gave 20 bucks to Baloo and had him mail in the confirmation. Only, he spent most of the money on food and drink and then upon remembering the mail, sent it out via 18th class mail with the few pennies he had left. Good show…

    • discounteggroll says:

      the fact that you remember those details so precisely is just mind boggling. Seriously, does elephant possibly run in your family? +1

      • Minj says:

        I wish. I remembered the episode pretty vividly so I looked up Tail Spin to make sure I had the character names correct. Then I went to the Episode Listing where I found what looked like the correct one. Then I did a google search for that episode name and found a summary/review that gave me the extra couple details. All in the name of a good Consumerist comment. ;)

  18. ellemdee says:

    If this were true, it would be like testing airport security for a news story by smuggling a dime bag and a loaded 45 in your carryon without clearing the “test” with those in charge first.

  19. golddog says:

    Yeah and Bernie Madoff was working on an exposé of the SEC and their lax regulations…

  20. TuxedoCartman says:

    “Child molestation: does underage nookie feel better? Find out tonight at 11:00.”

  21. gman863 says:

    If she eventually gets this on the air, will she use Janes Addiction’s “Been Caught Stealing” for her background song or The Smiths “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”?

  22. drjayphd says:

    Fortunately, if she ever gets her old job back, this’ll be the most exciting and substantial story to ever be on that show. So they’ve got that going for ‘em, which is nice.

    (Seriously, why do all the CT stations feel the need to have their own shitty morning show?)

  23. drjayphd says:

    Also, Westport? The mall’s in Milford. I’d be shocked if Westport even allowed a Sears within city limits. (Nobody I know calls it Westfield anything. It’s the Post Mall.)

    (insert correction hashtag here)

    • madfrog says:

      That’s what I though, also. I have been to the Post Mall in Milford, and glad I don’t live down there anymore. Some to the guys around here love her, thinks she’s all that, I just don’t get it. She’s got these big teeth and is fugly. Don’t you think that if WTNH was really having her do a story, they would own up to it and come to her defense? Freelance my ass, with all the money I’m sure she makes, like she needs to steal. Perhaps she if a kleptomanic or something.

  24. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    it’s ok – she’s a blogger

  25. jim says:

    Well, sounds like the story is incomplete without the jail experience.