Retiree's detective work nabs suspected prescription pill thief

Man uses cell phone to catch suspect
Posted at 8:24 PM, Aug 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-12 13:07:36-04

Racine Police say a toothpick and a cell phone led them to a repeat prescription pill thief.

Jamie Hamilton, a maintenence man at a retirement community on Wisconsin Avenue, is accused of stealing an elderly couple's prescription pills.

The victim, who asked to remain anonymous because his home was entered a number of times without his permission, said he started to doubt himself when his pain pills started to go missing a year ago, and wondered if he was just getting forgetful.

“And I’ve been trying to think of a way to, we had suspicion, but I was trying to think of a way to prove it," the victim said.

To prove someone was entering his apartment while he was away, he used an old trick.

“He put a toothpick in his doorway to see if that would move from the time he left to the time he came back," said Sgt. Adam Malacara.

The toothpick fell but nothing was missing -- nothing except the couple's pain pills, but those were in a locked cabinet, so he didn't see how anyone could steal them.

"He had thought that he might be losing it a little bit because he’s up there in age," Malacara said.

But the man didn't give up. Before leaving the house, he set up his cell phone and pressed record. Ten minutes after the couple left, video shows the thief walking in the front door, moving the locked medicine cabinete and unscrewing the backside.

"It’s a great relief to know that he is caught," said the victim, who added that he and his wife used to say hello to Hamilton.

"You feel violated, especially a fellow you trusted."

The victim estimates he was ripped off at least seven times over the past year.