Police credit media, others for tracking down shoplifting suspect

Barrington official had spotted suspect on the bike path with stolen air conditioners


It was a team effort.

Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said the apprehension of a shoplifting suspect was possible because many people came together to help local law enforcement with the investigation.

In a recent press release, Chief LaCross said town officials, residents, media outlets and others all played key roles in helping Barrington police identify a Warren woman as the individual allegedly responsible for stealing six air conditioners from Shaw's Supermarket in late April. 

The incident was first reported on Thursday, April 27, when employees at Shaw's Supermarket in the Barrington Shopping Center told police a woman and a man had left the store with an air conditioner unit inside a shopping cart without paying for it. The couple walked out the "In" door and was last spotted on the East Bay Bike Path.

"On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, the Barrington Times newspaper ran their weekly police news brief which prompted a Barrington department head to send an e-mail to the police chief advising him that on Saturday, April 29, he saw a white female on the bike path pushing a shopping carriage with two small AC units in it," stated the press release.

Barrington police detectives contacted Shaw's officials and verified that additional air conditioners had been stolen — pushing the total to six units valued at about $800. 

"On May 4, (Barrington Police) Detective Ben Ferreira posted the Shaw’s surveillance video to all the media networks in Rhode Island asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the female suspect," stated the release. "Shortly after the media coverage, the Barrington Police received numerous tips identifying the female suspect as Kerrianne Bettencourt, age 39, of 28 Davis St., Warren, RI."

Barrington Police Det. Sgt. Josh Birrell met with Warren Police Lt. Raymond Borges, who reportedly said that Ms. Bettencourt was known to their department "with over 50 contacts and had been arrested in Bristol for shoplifting in 2010."

On Thursday, May 11, Warren police took Ms. Bettencourt into custody based on an active arrest warrant for felony shoplifting. She allegedly admitted to police that she stole the air conditioners "and sold them to an unknown person/place."

Ms. Bettencourt is due in court on July 14.

Said Chief LaCross: “I am grateful for the years of support, open communication and professional relationship enjoyed by the staff members of our local and state media networks with members of our police department. There is no doubt that the posting of this larceny in the Barrington Times and the airing of the surveillance video on TV Channels 6, 10 and 12 lead to the quick arrest of this suspect in less than two weeks.”


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Davis St., which is near the Tourister mill and also Patriot Liquors, is one of those streets with buildings owned by slum lords who will rent apartments to anyone. I used to live near it, and the police were down there all the time. One would have thought that the landlord would have kicked Bettencourt out the first time she got in trouble -- but no, we have to put up with having a thief in our midst for years.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.