crimesider

90-year-old "citizen of the year" accused of stealing from suburban N.Y. food bank

County food bank director mystified by 90-year-old's alleged theft
Florence D'Imperio
CBS/WCBS


(CBS/WCBS) HARRISON, N.Y. - The suspects accused of taking food out of the mouths of some of their poorest neighbors provided quite a shock for a community in Westchester County, New York.  

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The arrest of 90-year-old Florence D'Imperio stunned the town of Harrison, where the elderly volunteer was recently named citizen of the year by the mayor for her work at the food pantry that she allegedly plundered.

Christina Rohatynski, the director of the county-wide food bank, was mystified by the thefts of donated food.

"What were they thinking? I mean, how much can this be worth?" Rohatynski said to CBS affiliate WCBS.

Rohatynski was especially mystified by the thefts because they allegedly involved D'Imperio and her son, William, who is a foreman with the Harrison Department of Public Works.

Police found it so hard to believe their "citizen of the year" and city employees were stealing donated food, that they set up a two-month long surveillance to confirm their suspicions.

In addition to D'Imperio's son, four other city employees were also arrested.

WCBS was told that the accused city employees have been suspended for the time being. Other sources confirmed that Harrison's Director of Public Services had called police when she suspected someone was stealing.

"She said 'I saw a lot of the food missing.' So that's when she blew the whistle," Rohatynski told the station.

All six of the defendants will be arraigned next week.