Saturday, February 28, 2009

Justice can seem to move at a snail's pace

I'm sorry she is frustrated, hopefully the investigation will be over soon and her frustration with the process ends.

Woman 'so frustrated' by recent crime spree

By Scott Sticker -Herald-Zeitung

As police continue to investigate a criminal scheme in which at least four New Braunfels businesses were robbed of several thousand dollars, a local woman says she had the information to locate the suspect for almost two weeks — and had told police.

Carol Brietzke says $1,600 was stolen from her purse on Feb. 13 while she was working in the kitchen at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in New Braunfels.Brietzke was able to gather the name, license plate number, address and other information of the woman she alleges took her money.

Since the incident, she has attempted to contact the New Braunfels Police Department repeatedly to no avail, she said.“I’m just so frustrated,” she said. “Here I am with all this information that I just want to share with police to help them. I don’t understand. Why don’t they check this out?”

Brietzke said she filed a police report on Feb. 14 — five days before a woman with a similar description took credit and debit cards from behind a cash register at Max’s Haus Mercantile.She has not been contacted since then, Brietzke said.

Brietzke said she most recently tried to contact the Police Department on Thursday after she read in the Herald-Zeitung about a woman suspected of stealing from local shop owners. The description of the woman and the vehicle used matched that of the woman Brietzke suspects of taking her money.

“When I called, the detective assigned to my case said he had not even glanced at the report,” she said. “I filed the report on (Feb. 14). Not one person has called me back.”She also said when she requested a copy of the report she was told it was privileged information and that she was not allowed to see it.Police Chief Ron Everett said Friday that detectives are actively pursuing the case.“We had a detective working on the case today,” Everett said. “We do have a suspect in this case, and we are trying to continue to develop sufficient sources.”

When asked, Everett would neither confirm nor deny that the suspect identified by police was the same as identified by Brietzke.Police spokesman Lt. Michael Penshorn said Friday that Brietzke’s case would be a difficult one to follow.“Since cash was the only thing that she said was taken, it could be hard to prove,” Penshorn said. “Short of personal physical evidence or actually seeing the person commit the crime, it makes it difficult to say it was a specific person.”Penshorn added it was likely the same person involved in the other thefts but that the burden of proof fell on the Police Department.

Brietzke said she has taken the situation into her own hands, calling the victimized shop owners to compare descriptions and trade information.

Shop owners from three of the shops that were hit described a similar subject: a short, dark-skinned or Hispanic woman.Marcia Kelly, owner of My Sister’s Closet, said the woman she suspects of stealing from her came back into her store on Wednesday to apply for a job.“She came back on Wednesday of this week,” Kelly said. “I didn’t recognize her at first because she dyed her hair a different color, but she looked familiar. When Carol and I compared names, though, it was the same exact name.”

Comal County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Mark Reynolds said nothing similar has been reported in the county and that he hasn’t heard anything else from local police.The thefts remain under investigation, and police ask that anyone with information contact them at (830) 608-2179.