A Borough Park woman turned in an impressive piece of detective work yesterday, as a shopping expedition in Manhattan set off a chain of events that ended with a recently released felon being taken into police custody.
24 year old, Dina Wohlhendler was shopping at Zara’s when she noticed that her wallet was missing. Thinking that she had left her wallet, which contained a substantial amount of cash as well as several credit cards and a debit card.
As Mrs. Wohlhendler headed back to her office located just one block away, she received an alert from Chase Bank informing her that a $211 charge had been made on her debit card at a Midtown Urban Outfitters store.
“I knew that Urban Outfitters had opened up a new location on 43rd and 5th and I wasn’t far from there,” Mrs. Wohlhendler told VIN News. “I ran over and asked the cashier if they remembered anyone making a large purchase, but there were no customers that stood out in their minds.”
Going back out onto 5th Avenue, Mrs. Wohlhendler began walking uptown hoping to somehow spot the thief on her own, when she noticed a Best Buy located one block to the north. Acting on instinct, she entered the store where she observed a woman, holding an Urban Outfitters bag, purchasing a cell phone. Coming closer to the shopper, she noticed the name on the credit card being offered to the cashier was none other than her own.
“I started yelling at her,” said Mrs. Wohlhendler. “At first she denied that the card was mine, but then she started yelling at me. She started running away towards the back of the store, but I ran after her, calling for security. She started throwing the merchandise from Urban Outfitters at me, then some cash, then my wallet, screaming ‘here is your stuff back, it is just a mix-up.’”
Best Buy security detained the woman and insisted that the pair wait for police to clarify the matter.
“As we were waiting, she said to me ‘you have your stuff back, this is just a waste of time’”, recalled Mrs. Wohlhendler. “Then she took another tack saying, ‘I am Muslim, you are Jewish. You are all greedy, why can’t you just let it go?’”
Upon their arrival, police immediately found inconsistencies in the suspect’s story, who first insisted that she hadn’t used the credit card, but store surveillance tapes indicated otherwise.
The suspect, who was identified as Tywanda Deckard, was taken in for questioning before being arrested on several charges including grand larceny, and possession of stolen goods. Deckard was released on parole on June 10th after being convicted on two counts of identity theft.
“The police were amazed that I got everything back,” admitted Mrs. Wohlhendler. “One of the officers jokingly handed me his shield and thanked me for doing his job.”
A spokesperson for Best Buy confirmed that the incident did take place yesterday in their Midtown store but refused to elaborate further. The NYPD did not return calls for comments regarding the case.