Natatia Bledsoe is the public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department.
It wasn’t about the cookie
Last week, the Free Lance-Star ran a crime story describing an odd chain of events that started with a cookie stolen from a convenience store, led to a car abandoned and nearly wrecked into an apartment building, and ended with two guys running into a woman’s apartment and then back out again before they disappeared.
I can’t make this stuff up.
Once the story was highlighted on Facebook, a surprising (to me) number of readers commented negatively on the incident and criticized the officer’s response, saying that it was a waste of time and effort on her part for a minor larceny offense.
Now, every police officer knows that if they do this job for longer than five minutes, at some point they are going to face disapproval from the public. They understand that if they wanted to get “nothin’ but love” from the people they serve, they should have become firefighters instead.
While law enforcement professionals do get well-deserved attention for making big arrests and capturing the bad guys, the truth is that the majority of a street officer’s time on the job is spent attending to relatively unimportant complaints. Barking dogs. Annoying neighbors. A stolen cookie. Our officers faithfully respond to every grievance and do their best to arrive at a satisfactory solution for the problem at hand.
Getting back to the case in question, on September 18, Corporal Wilson attempted to stop a suspect vehicle involved in a petty shoplifting in order to identify the offender. The driver refused to stop and turned into an apartment complex, where he drove slowly through the lot until he and his passengers bailed out and ran. The car was impounded to the Police Department’s headquarters and a search warrant was executed for the vehicle and its contents.
Cpl. Wilson’s actions in following the vehicle were entirely appropriate and were based on her strong suspicions at the time that have since been verified:
It wasn’t about the cookie.
In the week since that incident occurred, Cpl. Wilson has identified two of the three occupants of the vehicle and she has obtained numerous warrants against them.
The driver of the car, Jaron Lee Brown, 26, of unknown address, faces charges of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana (felony), hit and run, eluding with endangerment (felony), reckless driving, and driving on a revoked license (3rd or subsequent offense).
The person who started this whole misadventure has been identified as Richard Devon Washington, 24, of Woodbridge. Washington faces charges of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana (felony) and resisting arrest (for running from police). He’s also wanted for misdemeanor shoplifting.
So if you happen to see Mr. Brown or Mr. Washington, please give us a call and let us know, because we’d like to talk to them. And it’s not about the cookie.