HARRISON, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The suspects accused of stealing donated food from some of their poorest neighbors in Harrison were nowhere to be found Tuesday afternoon.
The arrest of 90-year-old Florence D’Imperio stunned the Westchester County community. The elderly volunteer was recently named citizen of the year by Harrison’s mayor for her work at the food pantry that she allegedly plundered.
Christina Rohatynski, the director of the county-wide food bank, was mystified by the thefts of donated food.
“What were they thinking? I mean, how much can this be worth?” Rohatynski asked CBS 2′s Lou Young.
Rohatynski was especially mystified by the thefts because it allegedly involved D’Imperio and her son, William, who is a foreman with the Harrison Department of Public Works.
Police found it so difficult to believe the elderly volunteer and city employees were stealing donated food they set a two-month long surveillance to confirm their suspicions.
In addition to D’Imperio’s son, four other city employees were also arrested. The situation has become a major embarrassment for the Town of Harrison, which is trying not to talk about it.
In an exchange with Young, the town’s attorney said Mayor Joan Walsh was in meetings all day and “not available for comment.”
CBS 2 was eventually told that the accused city employees have been suspended for the time being. Other sources also confirmed that Harrison’s Director of Public Services called police when she suspected someone was stealing.
“She said ‘I saw a lot of the food missing.’ So that’s when she blew the whistle,” Rohatynski said.
All six of the defendants will be arraigned next week.