By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
The caretaker of a home is charged with taking handmade quilts without permission and selling them, and the Picayune Police Department is asking for the community’s help in recovering the stolen crafts.
Community Policing Officer Capt. Theresa Milar said it is suspected about 40 to 50 of the handmade quilts were stolen from a local woman by the caretaker of her home, 53-year-old Mark Donnaway of 1008 Scarlet Dr., who either sold or gave them away to people at local businesses.
Donnaway was charged with grand larceny on Nov. 28, but it is believed he had been distributing or selling the quilts since as early as Sept. 13, Milar said.
The Police Department first learned of the quilts when a business owner called on Nov. 23, to report she had purchased a quilt from a man, but upon closer inspection the business owner noticed the quilt was handmade and worth much more than the $20 she paid, Milar said. It is estimated that the quilts are valued at between $800 to $1,500 per quilt, Milar said.
Investigation into the complaint provided detectives with a suspect, Donnaway, and a possible owner of the stolen quilts. The investigation showed Donnaway sold some of the quilts for $10 or $20 and even gave away a number of them for free, Milar said. The community policing officer spoke with the quilt owner and discovered Donnaway had access to the quilts because of his employment as the caretaker of her home, she said. The maker of the quilts confirmed Donnaway did not have permission to sell or give the quilts away, which led to him being charged with grand larceny due to the quilts being estimated at having a value of greater than $500, Milar said.
So far about 20 of the stolen quilts have been recovered, but the Police Department is asking for the community’s help in locating the rest of the missing quilts, Milar said.
Anyone with knowledge of the quilts is asked to call Milar or Capt. Lane Pittman at 601-798-7411.