Jill Jackson, 39, of Forest Avenue in Westfield, was arrested by Scotch Plains Police on March 19, and charged with two counts of theft after she allegedly stole two wallets from women whose children were attending a birthday party at in Scotch Plains.
Capt. Brian Donnelly said the alleged theft occurred on Saturday, March 17. Two victims noticed their wallets were missing following the invitation-only party that Jackson's child was attending.
Jackson, a 1991 graduate, was arrested and charged with one count of third-degree theft and one count of fourth-degree theft. Donnelly explained that the degree of theft depends on the dollar amount of whatever was reported stolen. The third-degree charge is the more serious one because that victim reported a larger amount of cash and gift cards in her wallet. Donnelly said Jackson was sent to Union County Jail when she was unable to post her $22,000 bail.
Donnelly said most of the stolen items were recovered.
Michele Patrone, one of the victims, held the party for her eight-year old daughter. She said she went shopping after the party and realized that her wallet was missing when she tried to pay at the register. Patrone said she immediately went back to the studio to look for her wallet. On her way, she received a call from a friend from South Orange who had left the party and realized her wallet was missing as well. Patrone said she knew then that it was "too coincidental."
Patrone said the employees and owners of Dancers Pointe immediately pulled the surveillance video from the party. The video revealed the alleged theft and Patrone called the Scotch Plains Police Department to file a report.
"They were incredible," she said. "The owners asked me if I needed anything, knowing that I didn't have any cash, an ATM card or a credit card. They asked me if I needed groceries for the weekend. They were wonderful."
Patrone, a single mom who has lived in Westfield for year and a half, said the Westfield community reached out to her as well and offered assistance. She said she is grateful to have the wallet, which belonged to her mother, back in her possession.