Senior pickpocket arrested again

October 21, 2008 4:06:14 PM PDT
A 76-year-old woman who gave her address as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has been arrested for the 73rd time in almost four decades, this time on charges of stealing a police decoy wallet in a supermarket and stuffing it in her bra. The woman, who prosecutors say has used 36 aliases, was indicted Tuesday as Katherine Kelly in Manhattan Criminal Court in connection with the wallet. Prosecutors reported the indictment but didn't disclose the charges.

A criminal complaint filed earlier in this case charged Kelly with grand larceny and attempted grand larceny. It said she took a wallet, left by police as bait, from a shopping cart in a supermarket a few blocks north of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 15. It said an officer recovered the wallet from Kelly's "bra area."

Before Kelly was accused of taking the wallet, the complaint says, undercover police saw her trying to steal from several people inside the supermarket by putting her hand inside their bags.

Judge Barry Kamins scheduled a Nov. 17 arraignment on the indictment.

Kelly's lawyer, James Neilson, said Tuesday his client has not been convicted in this case and expects due process. He acknowledged his client has a rap sheet but wouldn't comment on it.

Asked if he thought Kelly was mentally disturbed, Neilson replied, "That's something we're going to find out."

The district attorney's office says Kelly's arrest record dates from Dec. 21, 1971. On that date, office spokeswoman Tracy Golden said, Kelly was arrested as Charlotte Martinelli and charged with forgery. Golden did not know how the case was resolved.

Golden also noted that the woman has been arrested under 36 names, including Robin Shapiro, Antoinette Lombardi, Mildred Friedman, Sylvia McGuire, Victoria Velloti and Charlotte Petrovas.

The aliases tend to be old fashioned - no Tracys, Whitneys or Britneys.

Golden said prosecutors are investigating the woman's true identity. She said that although Kelly has given police 26 birth dates, her office is listing her as 76 because the age conforms to the birth date she gave with her latest arrest.

Most of the defendant's 73 arrests have occurred in Brooklyn, Golden said, with some in Manhattan and in Suffolk County, on Long Island.

The arrests have resulted in at least 16 convictions, Golden said. Most of the charges were felonies that were pleaded down to misdemeanors, she said.

Golden said that when Kelly gave her address as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (the Washington, D.C., location of the White House), she listed the city as Brooklyn, but such an address doesn't exist.

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