20 Aug 2014
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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.

Police: Homeless Woman Stole Rings

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."

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