Victim of theft presented with own coins at bank

Saturday, February 22, 2003

DECATUR, Ill. -- A bank teller couldn't believe his luck when a woman walked up to his window asking to convert coins to paper money.

Teller Corey Jefferson had had a large quantity of coins stolen in a burglary at his home only a day earlier. Jewelry, electronic games and a pillowcase were among the other items stolen.

So imagine Jefferson's surprise when the woman at his teller's window pulled that pillowcase filled with coins out of her bag.

"It hit me that it was the pillowcase taken in the burglary," he said. "What to do? I immediately asked her for her ID. I told her I needed it for the bank's records. I got a slip of paper and copied down her name and address."

Jefferson then walked over to his boss, who quietly called police while Jefferson stalled his "customer."

"I told her, 'The coin machine is broken right now, but my manager is calling someone to fix it,'" he said.

Police arrived instead of a repair crew and took the woman into custody.

"It's amazing," Jefferson said. "Out of all the banks in Decatur and all the tellers, she came to me."

Decatur police detective Sgt. Steve Chabak said Arzena L. Pettus, 33, was arrested. She since been charged with possession of stolen property under $300.

Pettus is scheduled to appear in court on March 5. Her bond has been set at $5,000.

How did Jefferson know it was his pillowcase, anyhow?

"It's pretty ugly," he said.

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