By Joe Johnson
A homeless man and woman were arrested Wednesday after they were caught trying to steal items from a clothing donation box.
Officers made contact with the suspects shortly after 2 a.m. when checking on a suspicious car parked in front of the donation box at University Gardens Apartments on Baxter Drive, according to a police incident report.
The man with the car was identified as 39-year-old David Lee Dougherty, who one officer recognized as a suspect who had recently been arrested while in possession of a large amount of narcotics, the report noted.
Dougherty reportedly told officers that he was there to take items from the locked donation box “to keep for himself.”
While speaking to Dougherty, an officer reportedly noticed 33-year-old Danielle Lynn Hutchison trying to climb out of the donation box.
She explained that she and Dougherty both were homeless but have been living on Hawthorne Avenue, according to the police report, which indicated that Hutchison admitted that they came to remove items from the box, which was labeled “Teen Challenge Georgia International Donation Box” and had a bolted lock on the side.
The arresting officer wrote in her report that both suspects argued that taking donated items from the box was not stealing.
Both were arrested for loitering and prowling, and Dougherty was additionally charged with criminal trespass because in January he had been barred from University Gardens for a period of two years, according to the report.
The officer further noted in the report that during the ride to jail, both suspects “verbally downgraded me,” and Hutchison “spit loogies in the back seat.”
Hutchison was released from jail hours after her arrest on a personal recognizance bond, but as of Thursday afternoon, Dougherty continued to be held in lieu of a $1,000 good security bond for the criminal trespass charge, according to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.