Woman In Court On Theft Charge Steals $520 From Jurors

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Pennsylvania woman who appeared in court on an unrelated theft charge this week allegedly went into a jury room and stole $520 from jurors’ purses.

Police say Jawanda Tench, 38, was caught on security camera entering the Allegheny County Courthouse jury room Tuesday around the time the money when missing. The door was mistakenly left unlocked by an employee while jurors' belonging sat unattended inside.

“It was a new tipstaff that was in charge of the jury and the door was not locked. Typically when the jury leaves the room, it’s locked, and in this case it was not,” Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus told WPXI.

Deputies said the woman in the video had what appeared to be court papers sticking out of her pocket.

“It was a pretty bold and brazen crime,” Kraus added.

After reviewing court records, investigators learned that Tench had been in the courthouse for her arraignment on charges of retail theft and false identification.

“The detectives conducted a query into a court database, and they were able to find several women that resembled this woman," Kraus said. "We were able to find one that was arrested in Ross Township. We spoke with Ross PD, and that's how we made the link.”

Tench was arrested Wednesday and faces a preliminary hearing on Oct. 21 on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Sources: WTOP, WPXI

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Jeffrey Beall