Employee Charged With Stealing From LifePath Resident
Kathleen A. Hart, of Allen Township, allegedly took a computer from a resident at the Palmer LifePath, which serves the mentally disabled.
For about three years, the theft of a laptop and computer bag from a resident at LifePath, which serves the mentally disabled, was a cold case for Palmer Township police.
That is until last month, when a LifePath employee allegedly brought the computer and bag to work with her at another LifePath facility.
The employee, Kathleen A. Hart, 57, who worked as a caregiver at the Palmer facility at the time of the 2008 theft, told police she bought the laptop and bag as Christmas gifts for her daughter.
Palmer police did some detective work and now say they have proof that Hart is the thief, according to court records.
Hart, of 39 Country Club Road West, Allen Township, has been charged in the case and has been released on unsecured bail.
A criminal complaint filed by Palmer police officer David Lembach tells the following story:
The theft occurred at LifePath at 3715 Freemansburg Ave. between Nov. 27, 2008 and Dec. 1, 2008. The Gateway laptop was valued at $900 and the Init bag – red and black with a gray stripe and red carrying strap – at $25. They belonged to a female resident and were bought new from a Best Buy store on Dec. 12, 2005.
On Jan. 18 of this year, a Palmer officer got a call from a LifePath official saying the laptop and bag had been recovered. The official said Hart brought them to work at LifePath’s Lehigh Valley office at 3500 High Point Blvd., Hanover Township (Northampton County).
Another employee who was familiar with the 2008 theft recognized the items and a supervisor was notified.
Later on Jan. 18, a Palmer detective interviewed Hart, who said she bought the items in December 2008 and gave them to her daughter as Christmas gifts. She said she bought the laptop at a computer show at Agricultural Hall inside the Allentown Fairgrounds. And she said she is “certain” she bought the bag new from Wal-Mart, Kmart, Staples or “one of the other stores at the large shopping complex” on MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township. (Best Buy is not in this shopping complex, the records say.)
Hart said she paid cash for both items and has no receipt for either one.
The next day, the detective spoke to a Best Buy official, who said Init products are sold only at Best Buy stores and that one would “never see” Init products for sale at competing storefront retailers.
On Jan. 23, the detective learned from an Agricultural Hall official that in November/December 2008, the hall hosted two computer shows – on Nov. 15-16 and Dec. 27-28.
The records say Hart could not have purchased the computer at the November show because the LifePath computer had not yet been stolen, and she did not purchase the computer at the December show because the show was held after Hart already had given the computer to her daughter as a Christmas gift.
With this information in hand, police filed the complaint on Thursday. Hart was arraigned Friday by District Judge Jackie Taschner of Palmer on charges of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. She was released on $2,500 unsecured bail.
The above information was supplied by District Judge Jackie Taschner's office. Where arrests or charges are mentioned, it does not indicate a conviction.