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Police: Homeless Woman Stole Rings

The owner of the Doylestown boutique from which the jewelry was stolen decided to press charges - but the reason why might surprise some.

A homeless woman is facing several charges after police said she caused a drunken scene and stole rings from a downtown Doylestown boutique.

Betty Brown, 65, no fixed address, was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at about 1:06 p.m.

Officers were called to investigate reports of a drunk woman, allegedly creating a disturbance and soliciting money in the area of State and Main streets, police said Thursday.

When officers brought her to the police station, a female officer found the woman had four sterling silver rings with price tags still attached. The rings, valued at $248, had been taken from Lilies of the Field.

Shop owner Jona Franklin was able to identify the rings as hers, and verified to police that they were missing from her store, Doylestown Borough Police Chief Jim Donnelly said Thursday.

Brown has been charged with retail theft, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

Franklin said Thursday night that she first told police that she didn't want to press charges. Though she was glad to have her property returned, that wasn't the issue foremost in her mind.

"I said I just wanted to let it go," Franklin told Doylestown Patch Thursday night, saying Brown "clearly has mental health and substance abuse issues. But then the officers told me that pressing charges would buy her a warm bed and three meals a day and, hopefully, the help she needs."

Brown has been arrested countless times over the years. Since 1988, she has been been incarcerated in the Bucks County Prison more than 20 times, according to prison records, for everything from public drunkenness to retail theft.

Doylestown police aren't sure where she lives, or even what her real name is.

"She won’t tell us her address, and we have no record of anything on file," Donnelly said. "She had no identification on her at all when we picked her up. She told us her name was Q."

June Goodwin December 07, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Being in jail is no picnic. Yes, you get three hots and a cot, but you have less privacy in crowded conditions and have to put up with the other inmates. Not like a suite at the Hilton Homeroom .
Jane December 07, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Very thoughtfully and compassionately spoken.
Shane Burroughs December 07, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I work with homeless folks in Bucks. I see why homeless people end up stealing- much of the time it is for survival only and not so that they can buy a new game system or go to the movies. Our program provides necessary supplies so that the homeless don't feel the pressure to steal or enter into "survival sex" to get needs met. This is NOT to say that people shouldn't be held accountable for stealing- it is to say that we as a community should seek to aid those in need more frequently and more liberally so that they don't feel that they MUST resort to criminal activity to meet basic needs. Crime will occur as long as homeless people have "needs" that are not being met. OK- another thought here- it would get frustrating to be homeless and poor and see people regularly seeing something they want and just buying it or to pass by a nice restaraunt and just get to go in and have a nice meal without being stared at for being "smelly or dirty." Especially in Doylestown!!!! D-town is a place where the homeless have to be surrounded by nice, expensive stuff and to feel like they're about the only person who is unable to ever have anything "nice" would get old and be depressing. Again, not saying it is ever "right" to steal... it's just kind of understandable, given the struggles homeless people deal with. During the Christmas season, poor folks still often get provided "gifts" that are "necessity items" and leave them still feeling like they'd like a "nice" item and not just "basics."
Nicole December 07, 2012 at 06:39 PM
So what you are all saying we need to do something for our local homeless people!I agree,but clothes food and a cot doesn't solve the problem.What they need is a job and a home.I know that after a while hand outs get old!They have lost there way and need to be re-introduced into the world.I would love for some local politians to start a program.
Bettina December 09, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Old Brown Betty (an old song title) would probably be safer on the streets of Doylestown than in jail.

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