East Hampton Town police charged a California woman with felony grand larceny on Monday, alleging she had stolen two jackets, including an Italian leather one valued at $1,500, from the Underwood Drive house in Springs where she had worked as a nanny for a week. Dwikeesha D. Jones, 38, of Antelope, Calif., was also charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, both misdemeanors. She pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon in East Hampton Town Justice Court.
Matthew Ruggiero, her employer, told police he had hired Ms. Jones through Buckingham Nannies, an agency based in Beverly Hills, to take care of his son. She arrived on Feb. 12, but after a week, Mr. Ruggiero decided to let her go, according to statements both he and Ms. Jones made to police. He said he had bought her a return ticket on a flight scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Ms. Jones told police that “Matt said he wanted to drop me off at the bus stop, which surprised me. I had to pack all my stuff in a hurry and since I was rushing, I must have packed the black bubble jacket.” In her statement, she said she had arrived in New York without any winter clothing, and Mr. Ruggiero had given her permission to use that jacket, which was valued at $300.
While she was in the shower on Monday morning, Mr. Ruggiero told police, he went into her room and noticed that the so-called bubble jacket, which had been on a shelf, was missing. He had previously suspected her of stealing the more expensive Italian jacket, which had gone missing a week earlier, and decided to press charges.
Ms. Jones had a different account. She said the missing $1,500 leather jacket had been in a pile of clothes to be donated. She said she had sent it during the week to a stylist doing a shoot in Atlanta, and had offered to leave her jewelry with Mr. Ruggiero as collateral until the jacket could be returned. Mr. Ruggiero, however, said the jacket had been taken off a hanger in his bedroom closet and that Ms. Jones had taken it with her on a trip into the city last week.
Standing before East Hampton Justice Steven Tekulsky on Monday, Ms. Jones spoke quietly, explaining that she also worked as a business image consultant. When it came to bail, the justice noted that she had no criminal record, but also that she had no ties to the area. He told her the district attorney’s office had requested bail be set at $2,500, and asked if there was anyone she could call locally to post it. “No, your honor,” she answered. Bail was set at $1,000.
Asked how much money she had with her, an officer guarding her said, “She has two dollars.” Ms. Jones was taken to county jail in Riverside, scheduled to be returned to court today. If bail has not been posted by then, and she has not been indicted by the district attorney’s office, she will be released.