(Oct. 5, 2017) Akron, Ohio resident Pamela Andrella, 61, faces four charges of theft after an alleged shoplifting spree that involved several stores in West Ocean City and downtown Berlin on Saturday.
Several shop owners located the woman’s whereabouts using surveillance footage from their stores and social media posts.
Nicole Chamberlain, who operates Back East Boutique on 9748 Stephen Decatur Highway, held a fundraiser on Saturday for a local Miss Maryland Teen USA contestant. When a rush of customers died down, she said her partner noticed a bracelet was missing.
“We both looked back on our surveillance and caught the woman on camera stealing the bracelet as she’s standing there talking to my mom,” Chamberlain said. “The incident happened 20 minutes prior, so I immediately starting calling other local boutiques to look out for this woman.”
She also pulled a photo of the woman from the surveillance footage and posted it on her Facebook page as a warning to other storeowners. The post apparently worked.
About two hours later, Megan Cosman, owner of Patty Jeans Boutique on Main Street in Berlin, spotted the woman walking around with a small group.
Cosman said she got surveillance photos from Chamberlain and, about an hour later, heard a similar story from Fathom co-owner Devin Donahue. Fathom is based about a block away from Patty Jeans, also on Main Street.
“Devin came down and said, ‘I just wanted you to be aware this lady just stole from us. It’s on our surveillance’ and it was the same lady,” Cosman said. “All of the sudden I see them walking in front of World of Toys and Sisters [across the street] and I said, ‘Excuse me, did you … shoplift from locals stores today?’”
When the woman denied shoplifting, Cosman replied, “You’re right here [in pictures] on my phone in two different shops, stealing today. Do you want to walk down and hand them their merchandise back, or pay for it?”
During the commotion, Donahue’s sister, Hunter Smith, called the police.
According to charging documents, Berlin Police arrived and Smith identified Andrella “as a subject that had stolen a set of earrings.” Smith showed police security footage of Andrella apparently stealing from Fathom.
A witness reportedly saw Andrella “toss the item under a sandwich board after being confronted about the theft … [and] observed Andrella walk around the corner onto Broad Street Berlin and begin removing and stashing items in various locations about the building.”
Berlin Police Cpl. Merle Bragg reported finding several of the items and two additional shop owners identified them as stolen.
“They had stolen from Bruder Hill, House by Salvaged, Back East, Fathom, and there were a couple of rings that we couldn’t identify where they were from,” Cosman said. “They had made their rounds.
“I think it’s awesome that we’re all looking out for each other,” she added. “It’s pretty awesome to live in a community that still does that, with the way the world is now.”
“While the arrest was being made, we were all there together and I will say it was a nice feeling to know that we had supported each other and came together as a community,” she said. “I’m proud of how we handled the situation.”
Andrella was charged with two counts of theft less than $100, one count of theft less that $1,000 and one count of theft-scheme less than $1,000.