My son's girl friend (age 24) was surprisingly arrested for 2 counts of felony larceny and breaking and entering two weeks ago. She is very distraught because the crime occurred in an area of the state (2 1/2 hours away) where she no longer lives. She has lived in our area for 3 1/2 years now. The crime consisted of breaking into a convenience store and stealing two cartons of cigarettes and some coins, and we still don't have the specifics of why they think she did it. The crime occurred on April 4th, she was arrested on April 15th, and she had to make her first court appearance on April 19th, but the assistant DA said she didn't have possession
of the evidence against our friend at that time. We have secured very good legal representation
, but we are trying to learn as much as possible about whether our friend's civil rights
have been violated. Rumor has it (from former neighbors at this previous address) that the store owner has a surveillance tape that looks like our friend and one other young female committing the crime, but the offenders can only be seen from the back. I can't confirm any of this information at this time, but I hope to learn more in the future. The next court date is May 23rd. In the mean time, I am curious about "probable cause" and whether or not the sheriff's department have overstepped their authority by arresting our friend. We have gathered much data to support that she was in our part of the state during the days surrounding the commission of the crime (debit card transactions, etc). Also, our young friend has a trust fund
that she was able to get a lump sum distribution from last December, so she has a healthy bank account and had no need to steal cigarettes. She is very embarrassed that her arrest has been published in the paper today, and she is very anxious that she will be remembered in this community for a crime she didn't commit. If we have any recourse available to us once she is cleared of these charges, we intend to pursue a civil suit. Interestingly, the Sunday night that she was arrested (between 8:00 - 9:00 p.m.), the detention personnel told us that the arresting sheriff was in route for a "courtesy interview" and was only about 45 minutes away (out of the 2 1/2 hour trip). After much debate, we decided not to grant the "courtesy interview" because our friend had already been arrested and we felt she should have legal representation present. Also, we were not feeling very "courteous" at the time! Is it normal for a sheriff to make a 2 1/2 trip to transport an arrested suspect back to his county, especially considering that it was a Sunday evening and he would not have been able to return home until about 3:00 a.m.? Also, is it normal for the warrant for our friend's arrest to have been processed on a Sunday? The actual date of the arrest warrant was April 15th, a Sunday.
In addition, we wonder if there has been malicious intent with this entire episode because our young friend had female acquaintances at her previous home who were quite jealous of the attention that she received from a young man. One of the girls was a daughter of the sheriff at that time (not the current sheriff - but the former sheriff is now employed in the area as a convenience store security guard - different store than the one robbed). The former sheriff's daughter and the young man were married the weekend before the robbery was committed on April 4th, but the young man's father continues to try to contact our friend through text messages. He keeps saying he would like a current picture of our friend. I have forwarded all of these text messages to our attorney and our friend has not responded and provided any pictures, but it's very frightening to think that these people are plotting against our young friend.
One last weird fact concerning our friend's arrest: Our county received a communication from the former county of residence on Sunday evening, April 15th, to follow up on a "well-being check" for our friend that was phoned in to the former county by a 9-1-1 call. Dispatch responded to the "well-being check" by running a check on our friend to get info and to show up at her current address to check on her. At that time they discovered that a warrant for her arrest had been issued that day, so they verified her well-being and took her into custody. While our friend was in transport to the detention center the sheriff's deputies tried to relay return information about our friend's safety, but the caller who phoned 9-1-1 could not be reached. It seems that the call was a hoax used to "trigger" a quick arrest that evening.
Any advise you could offer would be greatly appreciated.