Shoplifting caught on tape, NOPD says
Walt Philbin, nola.com (New Orleans), Feb. 27
A police officer is on desk duty following her arrest during Carnival after she was captured on videotape in full uniform allegedly shoplifting a $10 lip balm from a Rite-Aid store while assigned to the St. Charles Avenue parade route, pollice officials said.
Tawanda McAfee, 31, a 6 1/2-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, was arrested late Saturday on Canal Street where she was working the Endymion parade route.
McAfee, whose regular assignment is as a school resource officer in the 4th District, was booked with theft. NOPD officials said she is on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
After the Iris and Tucks parades had passed Saturday afternoon, McAfee went into the Rite-Aid drugstore at Louisiana and St. Charles avenues shortly before 4 p.m. and removed the medicated balm from its package, placing it in a pocket of her police uniform, officers said. The balm, a nonprescription item, was originally priced at $16.99, but was on sale for $9.99, an officer said.
She left the protective wrapping on the shelf and left the store after buying a chocolate bar and an inexpensive lip balm, an officer said.
But McAfee had drawn the attention of a store employee, who found the empty package on the shelf, police said.
A member of the police Public Integrity Bureau was dispatched to the scene and reviewed the tape. Police officials didn’t reveal the contents of the tape, other than to say the “shoplifting was captured on a surveillance camera.”
PIB investigators went to a Mid-City stretch of Canal Street where McAfee was assigned to work the Endymion parade, and asked for her gun and badge, officers said. She was taken to Central Lockup and booked with a municipal charge of shoplifting, police said.
McAfee was initially suspended in an action police spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo termed “an emergency suspension.” She was later reinstated by police Superintendent Eddie Compass, and placed on desk duty pending the results of the investigation.