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Woman faces federal charges at West Point in alleged theft -- meatballs

From Kristen Kiraly, CNN
March 25, 2013 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
The dining hall of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
The dining hall of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Housekeeper is accused of trying to steal a bag of frozen meatballs
  • Estelle Casimir has pleaded not guilty
  • Manager says Casimir tried to sneak the meatballs out, claiming the bag was garbage
  • If convicted, she could face up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine

New York (CNN) -- A housekeeper at the U.S. Military Academy could face up to two years in jail if convicted of trying to steal a bag of frozen meatballs.

Estelle Casimir pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in White Plains, New York, this month, according to her attorney.

"She is very upset," said Michael Ferraro. "We've pleaded not guilty, definitely."

Casimir has been charged with stealing from the mess hall at the famed military academy in West Point, New York, on January 30. She faces two counts of misdemeanor crimes for stealing property and possessing stolen property.

Each count carries a possible penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to a signed affidavit, the operations manager on duty at West Point, spotted Casimir trying to hide a black bag with her hand and asked her what it was.

"Nothing, it is garbage," Casimir reportedly replied.

After some reluctance, Casimir revealed the bag of meatballs, the affidavit states.

On the mess hall's menu that night: meatballs.

"If it is garbage why didn't you throw it away near the pantry area, where they have a dumpster by the door?" the manager asked, according to the affidavit.

Casimir claimed that she found the bag in a trash container and was going downstairs to throw it in another dumpster, the affidavit states.

Pending the outcome of her case, Casimir has been suspended without pay by her employer, Watson Services, which provides food services at West Point, Ferraro said.

Attempts to contact the military police at West Point, Watson Services and Casimir were unsuccessful.

Ferraro said he'll be trying to reach an agreement with the assistant U.S. attorney. If he can't, Casimir is scheduled to be back in court on April 19.

"Obviously nobody wants to go to jail," he said.

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