Two sisters came up with an elaborate plan to steal from the West Hartford Police Department, according to authorities.
Yahaira Santiago, an employee at Doctor's Express walk-in clinic on The Boulevard in West Hartford found a wallet containing $1,100 at the clinic and turned it over to her manager. But she first cataloged the wallet's contents, according to police.
Santiago then sent her sister, Jennifer Melo, to the police department to claim the wallet as her own, police said. Melo knew every detail of what was in the wallet and even had a photo of it, according to police.
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"She knew the exact amount of 20-dollar bills, the exact amount of fifties, the exact wallet," Lt. Ted Stoneburner said.
About a week after Melo collected the cash, a second woman, Rita Vorotnikova, arrived at the police station to report she had lost her wallet at Doctor's Express. She even provided officers with a bank statement proving the cash was hers, police said.
"It takes a very special person to walk into the police department and steal from the police department," Lt. Stoneburner said.
When confronted, Santiago and Melo denied knowing each other, according to police. Officers began an intensive investigation and found the two women spoke to each other 120 times within two weeks of Melo picking up the cash from the police department. It was then that police learned they were sisters.
Santiago and Melo face charges of larceny and interfering with an officer. Santiago also faces an additional charge of giving a false statement. She was released on $25,000 bond. Melo was released on $1,100 bond, the same amount she's accused of stealing from the police department. Both will be in court on March 17.
Unfortunately for Vorotnikova, the money was gone by the time police learned the details of the alleged crime.
"she's not so much surprised that somebody stole money from her because that happens everyday, but more of, you know, that somebody would do it to the police station, Artor Shakhnazaraf, Vorotnikova's stepson said while translating for his stepmother.