First of two sisters accused of stealing from police sees case c - WFSB 3 Connecticut

First of two sisters accused of stealing from police sees case continued

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Yahaira Santiago and Jennifer Melo. (West Hartford police photos) Yahaira Santiago and Jennifer Melo. (West Hartford police photos)

A woman accused of scheming with her sister to steal from the West Hartford Police Department was scheduled to face a judge on Thursday morning. 

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

Melo faced a superior court judge in Hartford at 10 a.m. However, her case was continued until April 15.

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

According to investigators, 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.

One week later, police said the real owner of the wallet came to pick it up. However, police  said they had already given the wallet away as Melo had accurately described the contents of the wallet.

"It takes a very special person to walk into the police department and steal from the police department," said Lt. Ted Stoneburner, West Hartford police.

The victim's stepson said police should pay up for their mistake.

"Police was involved and they knew they made a mistake so it should be simple for us to get refunded and for them to deal with it," said Artur Shakhnazarov, the victim's stepson.

Stoneburner said the only way for the victim to be reimbursed is through the court system.

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

Police said they arrested Santiago and Melo after an intense investigation.

After Melo's appearance on Thursday, Santiago is scheduled for her own day in court on Friday.

While Melo declined to give Eyewitness News a comment, Santiago claimed she did the right thing by handing the wallet over to police. Despite a lengthy criminal record, she said she was innocent in this case.

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