Social media can be a great tool for fact-finding. I mean, I use it every single day in some way to do my job, as do many reporters.
But sometimes, it’s a real butt burn. And it seems that this might be the case regarding the tapping of a potential suspect of several package thefts in the Lakewood, M Streets, Midway Hollow and Park Cities area we told you about last night (other local news affiliates woke up, had some coffee and hit this story sometime today — just sayin’).
Now, early this morning I awoke to a comment that named a specific person. It’s not our habit to name a suspect before the cops do (especially when the pictures of gleaned from the surveillance videos could be three-fourths of the female population in Dallas) unless we have a ton of proof.
And when I looked up the woman, I was a little flummoxed — because she was kind of well, known.
I redacted her name from the comment and then posted a note in the comments that if you had a potential tip, you needed to call 9-1-1 (or your local patrol substation) and let them know.
But then as the day progressed, I kept seeing her name appear all over social media. And acquaintances and friends alike repeatedly said that while the woman looked like their friend, they were a little surprised to think that she would do something like that.
So I finally was able to reach out to the “suspect,” thanks to an intermediary who let her know what was going on, and that I was interested in talking to her.
So I talked to Carolanne Treadwell. Dallas foodies probably recognize her from her stints at CBD Provisions, The Lumen, and other restaurants — I know I did, which is why I found it odd that she was named.
She says she is, too.
“I was awoken to the horrifying news that my name is involved with a series of package thefts in the Lakewood area,” she told me. “I am in fact not the person involved with this.”
“Although there is a resemblance to myself and that woman, it is not me.”
First, I asked her for any way she could prove it wasn’t her. She showed me her car — a four-door sedan whose make and model matches the one I found registered to her. It’s not the Buick Rendezvous I determined the SUV in the photos to be.
“I do not own a Buick Rendezvous nor do I have access to one,” she said. “I drive a four-door sedan.”
I’m not showing a picture of her car because she asked me not to. She also asked me not to share photos of her because she didn’t wish to have a photo of her attached to a story about package theft. Fair enough.
But one of the other items of proof she gave me was pretty conclusive — a photo of a tattoo on her forearm that would easily have been visible in one set of surveillance photos.
So who is the blonde woman who bears a more than passing resemblance to the woman caught nabbing packages all over Lakewood?
“I’m a chef, currently in between jobs due to exhaustion,” Treadwell said. “When I am not working, you can find me on long distance runs, at home, or with friends.”
Treadwell said she was stunned to find out her name was mentioned as the thief. “I found out about all of this because friends that know me well, know the car I drive, and know my character found it necessary to let me know that my name was being associated with the horrific thefts,” she said.
“I am not the infamous ‘Blonde Lakewood Package Thief,’” Treadwell reiterated. “I feel terrible to have my name involved with this horrible string of events. I hope they catch the lady soon so that no one else has to suffer.”
“I realize I do resemble that woman, and for that reason this whole thing is mortifying!”
I also asked Treadwell if she could account for her whereabouts during specific times homeowners told me they had been hit.
“I have been out of work and actually start my new job tomorrow,” she said. “For the most part, you may have to rely on my friends as witnesses as other than being home, running, and doing errands, the majority of my time has been spent with them.”
She says that Saturday and Monday, when the suspect hit homes in Lakewood and the M Streets, she says she was with her boyfriend all day. Yesterday, when reports of the suspect’s exploits were quite numerous, she says she was with her boyfriend until about 2, then went on a run in the afternoon before returning home, where she remained from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
“I was with a friend from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.,” she finished.
With pictures of the woman hitting every single TV news channel tonight, and neighbors even taking turns driving patrol in Lakewood to try to keep an eye out, it doesn’t seem like whoever this is will remain anonymous for long. And as the day progressed to evening, several more people came forward to say they doubted Treadwell was the suspect at all — that it was probably a case of mistaken identity.
“Really, the woman in those photos could be half the women I know,” one Lakewood homeowner said. Many more said the “disguise” of your basic, everyday Dallas woman running errands was probably what was making this person so effective — she literally looks like a lot of people.
And more than anything, Treadwell hopes the thief is caught soon — and not just because she says it’s been damaging to her reputation.
“I have had packages stolen from my door in the past and I absolutely know how terrible it feels,” she said. “I am happy the victim has images of the thief’s face and vehicle and hope for everyone’s sake that this is soon resolved.”
Dallas police told me today that there has been no arrest made regarding the string of thefts, but that they are working on it and are aware of the issue. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the police.
Bethany Erickson is the education, consumer affairs, and public policy columnist for CandysDirt.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.