Cops: Woman said she stole from Goodwill out of good will

This is not the site of the alleged crime, but it is a representative facsimile.

Welcome to the enchanted land of Delaware County, where even Robin Hood tales go awry.

When cops caught up with 61-year-old Abbie Merritt this weekend, a woman they claim has stolen from an Upper Chichester Goodwill donation drop box at least six times since January, she told them that she gave away the items she stole to those in need, according to police.

If she was telling the truth, then Merritt was actually stealing from the poor to give to the poor, since the clothing and items donated to Goodwill are not only sold to help support job training for people with disabilities but they are often purchased by people on fixed or low incomes.  

Cops, however, didn't buy Merritt's tall tale and instead charged her with several counts of theft.

"Goodwill is there to help people and not to help yourself," said Upper Chichester Det. Christopher Jones.

In January, the director of loss prevention at the Goodwill on Chichester Avenue began noticing the thefts from the donation drop box at the back of the store, Jones said. Merritt was captured stealing from the box six times on video surveillance, police said.

On Sunday night, Upper Chichester police conducted live surveillance on the building and caught Merritt in the act, Jones said.

"She gave a statement basically saying she knew it was wrong but it was stuff she needed," Jones said. "She said she'd take the bags home, sort through them and give them out to other people."