Sisters arrested for concocting scheme to steal wallet from West - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Sisters arrested for concocting scheme to steal wallet from West Hartford police

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Yahaira Santiago and Jennifer Melo. (West Hartford police photos) Yahaira Santiago and Jennifer Melo. (West Hartford police photos)
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Two women, later found out to be sisters, are accused of stealing money from the West Hartford Police Department.

Police said Yahaira Santiago, 30, and Jennifer Melo, 26, were both arrested for taking $1,100.

Officers said the money was originally found in a wallet at the Doctors Express on Boulevard, on Feb. 2. The wallet's owner left the wallet, containing $1,100, behind. 

Santiago, an employee, found the wallet and gave it to her supervisor who turned it in to police. A few days later, Melo went down to the police department to pick up what she claimed was her missing wallet.

"Unfortunately, this person had all the inside information. She knew the exact amount of $20 bills, the exact amount of 50's, the exact wallet," said West Hartford Police Lt. Ted Stoneburner.

One week later, police said the real owner of the wallet came to pick it up, but police had already given the wallet away.

"What surprises us the most is the police officers got fooled by it and gave money to the wrong person," said Artur Shakhnazarov, the victim's stepson.

Police said when they questioned Santiago and Melo, they denied knowing each other. However, phone records helped police determine that they called each other 120 times within two weeks after the theft. Police then learned the two are actually sisters.

Police arrested Santiago and Melo after an intense investigation.

The victim still doesn't have her money back, and Shakhnazarov said he thinks police should pay up. Police said the victim has to let this play out in court to get her money back.

Santiago was released on a bond of $25,000.

Melo was released on a $1,100 bond.

Both were given a court date of March 17.

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