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West Point Meatball Theft Leads To Federal Charges

Fair warning, don’t steal meatballs from the West Point Mess Hall:

WEST POINT — “They say that in the Army, the chow is mighty fine,” goes one verse of a popular military marching song. “A pea rolled off the table, and killed a friend of mine.”

While there have been no reports of killer peas at the West Point Cadet Mess Hall, a housekeeper there, perhaps unaware that an army marches on its stomach, has been arrested on federal charges of larceny and possession of stolen property, accused of stealing a bag of frozen meatballs.

Estelle Casimir, 56, of Newburgh pleaded not guilty March 15 to the misdemeanor charges in U.S. District Court in White Plains.

She also denied the theft when contacted Thursday by The Journal News, saying “I throw them in the garbage” after being asked why she allegedly mooched meatballs.

Casimir has been suspended from her job at Watson Services, the company based in Newburgh that provides food services at the mess hall. She has worked at the company for 28 years.

Authorities say supervisors confronted Casimir about 1 p.m. Jan. 30 because she apparently abandoned her post and was found in an area where she had “no responsibility or assignment of duties,” according to court papers.

An affidavit signed by Joshua Weaver, a court liaison to the Provost Marshal’s Office at West Point, says that when Casimir was asked what was in the grocery bag she was carrying, she replied, “Nothing. It’s garbage.”

Asked why she didn’t throw it in a garbage area near the pantry, Casimir said she was taking it to a bin downstairs instead.

“After some reluctance, the defendant revealed a bag of ‘completely frozen’ meatballs in the defendant’s possession; which coincidentally were on the menu for that evening’s dinner,” the affidavit says.

Casimir said she “found the bag in a trash container and was on her way to dispose of them in another trash container.”

She was subsequently arrested by military police.

(…)

Casimir is scheduled to return to court April 19. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and one year in a federal stockade on each count.

Those must have been some Top Secret meatballs.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    I’m not saying that what she did was right, but …. How is this any different from employees “stealing” office supplies and making personal calls on the company telephone?

    I understand why, but, really, U.S. District Court in White Plains? They could not settle this up before it went this far? I cannot believe that this type of stuff can get this far into the court system – what a waste of court resources, and of a person’s life. She’ll probably have a misdemeanor on her record and not be able to work again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. @al-Ameda:

    It is quite bizarre that it has literally turned into a Federal case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. David in KC says:

    I believe that West Point is exclusive federal jurisdiction, and if so, any crime is a Federal case. This would include speeding, shoplifting and meatball poaching. Normally I would expect something like this to be taken care of at the magistrate level. Been years since I was around that stuff, but I think the defendant has to consent to being tried by the magistrate. If not, it goes to district court.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. John Peabody says:

    Isn’t it simply because she stole “federal property” on a military reservation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. John Burgess says:

    It used to be that you’d get a federal parking ticket for errant behavior at National or Dulles airports near DC as they were then federal facilities. Also in DC, the US Marshals do (or used to do) evictions.

    I was torn whether to keep and frame my federal parking ticket or return it with a check.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. ernieyeball says:

    “On Top of A Pizza, All covered with Cheese
    I Saw my First Meatball, Till Somebody Sneezed…
    It Rolled off The Table, and on to the Floor.
    It Rolled and it Rolled, Right Out of the Door.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSgx6jqOk-E

    I actually had this gem on a 45 RPM disc.
    Thank You Dick Biondi

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. @John Burgess:

    Presently, the Federal Government still has authority over the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which runs solely within Virginia and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which runs solely within Maryland.

    This means that any number of traffic offenses from the petty to the the serious, including DUIs, that occur on these roads, end up in Federal Courts.

    I’ve had to deal with a number of these cases over the years, typically just Reckless Driving cases related excessive speeding. I’ve always gotten the impression that the AUSA assigned to these cases was somewhat annoyed at having to deal with crap like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. @David in KC:

    You make a blindingly obvious legally correct point.

    The question I have is, why is this woman being charged with a crime at all?

    Seriously, unless she was making off with a truckload of meatballs is this really worth the time and effort?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. @ernieyeball:

    Oh my gosh, that brings back memories

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I was once told by a veteran that, while in service, getting a sunburn could be a court martial offense for “damaging federal property” — your own body.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Poverty… it’s a bitch.

    Meet our newest Jean Valjean.

    We hear more and more of these stories… People arrested for stealing trivial amounts of food. Or worse, killed by some over-eager security guard over a trivial amount of nothing.

    ————————

    “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.” Dom Helder Camara

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Whittaker: Mr. Maryk, Mr. Kieth. The captain wants a meeting with all officers, right away.

    Lt. Maryk: Now? At one o’clock in the morning?

    Whittaker: Yes, sir.

    Lt. Maryk: Do you know what it’s about?

    Whittaker: Yes, sir – strawberries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  13. @michael reynolds:

    Nice

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. JKB says:

    The contractor discovered an employee allegedly stealing the property provided by the government to execute the contract. No doubt, there is a clause that all thefts and other criminal activity by the contractor’s employees must be reported to the base military police. The MPs determined probable cause for arrest and affected the arrest. Now the matter is before the courts The question is, why wasn’t some prosecutorial discretion exercised in this matter? I guess this woman didn’t have the connections that David Gregory did? And yes, I realize one was the DC prosecutor and this lady fell into the clutches of some low level AUSA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  15. John Burgess says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Venereal diseases, too! Many GIs were punished (though usually administratively) during WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Davebo says:

    @John Burgess:

    But not via courts martial. Only non judicial punishment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. @Doug Mataconis:

    The question I have is, why is this woman being charged with a crime at all?

    If I get caught stealing a bag of meatballs from the supermarket, should that be legal?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. BIll says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Whittaker: Mr. Maryk, Mr. Kieth. The captain wants a meeting with all officers, right away.

    and after the meeting ‘They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic…that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I’d have produced that key if they hadn’t of pulled the Caine out of action.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I was once told by a veteran that, while in service, getting a sunburn could be a court martial offense for “damaging federal property” — your own body. ”

    IIRC, the actual charges would be violation of orders (to wear a shirt) and rendering oneself unfit for duty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0