Bethany police nab shoplifing suspect


The Bethany Beach Police Department (BBPD) curtailed what appears to have been a long-running shoplifting activity, targeting any number of local jewelry stores and retail shops, predominantly in Bethany Beach.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: Bethany Beach police displayed jewelry recovered from an alleged shoplifter’s home so local merchants could attempt to find missing merchandise.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
Bethany Beach police displayed jewelry recovered from an alleged shoplifter’s home so local merchants could attempt to find missing merchandise.

BBPD’s Sgt. Rick Hayden responded to a call from one of those shops on Aug. 5, after proprietors reported someone attempting to sell jewelry that, while not identical, appeared to contain elements from pieces previously gone missing.

Hayden found Lewes resident Patricia Brittingham in possession of stolen merchandise, and retrieved several additional stolen items she had on her person.

She reportedly offered a confession — that she had a problem with shoplifting.

Following up, the BBPD exercised a search warrant at Brittingham’s home on Aug. 8, and recovered another $5,000 worth of jewelry and watches.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEYCoastal Point • SAM HARVEY
“The way she was operating — she’d steal a necklace or bracelet, take it apart, make her own jewelry out of it and try to resell it,” explained BBPD Cpl. Joanna Robertson.

Brittingham was charged with receiving stolen merchandise and shoplifting. She was released on a $4,000 bond, pending an appearance in the Court of Common Pleas.

Hayden set up a large display at town hall on Aug. 10, in an effort to reunite local retailers with their waylaid items.