AMESBURY — A 6-year-old pickpocketing case was resolved Monday when a local man admitted in court he reached into a woman’s pocketbook and stole her wallet while shopping at Stop & Shop on Macy Street in 2013.
David Ditty, 40, of 164 Whitehall Road, Amesbury, pleaded guilty in Newburyport District Court to larceny from a person and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.
But, as part of his plea deal, Ditty was given credit for 11 days already served behind bars and the remaining sentence was suspended for a year while he is on probation.
While on probation, Ditty must stay away from the local Stop & Shop, remain drug and alcohol free with random screens, attend two AA/NA meetings per week and pay a $90 fine.
Ditty was charged with the crime in 2013, but failed to appear in court on Oct. 30, 2013, after a warrant was issued. He remained at large for almost six years before he was arrested and arraigned two months ago. After his arraignment, he posted $2,000 cash bail, according to court records.
The records show that on Oct. 6, 2013, Ditty reached into the pocketbook of a woman shopping in the produce section and stole her wallet. The middle-aged woman felt his hand going into her pocketbook as he snatched the wallet.
“(The victim) exclaimed ‘that’s my wallet!’ and chased the male. She was able to grab onto the wallet as the male fled the exit on the west side of the store,” Amesbury police officer David Clark wrote in his report.
Court records do not show how much money was in the wallet.
A week later, Amesbury police Detective Sean Leary showed the woman two photos of Ditty the detective had taken from store surveillance footage.
“(The victim) was immediately able to ID the subject that took her wallet. Newburyport police had a very similar incident on the same day at Market Basket,” Leary wrote in his report.
With the help of Haverhill police, Leary tracked down Ditty’s ex-girlfriend, who was suspected of driving him away from Stop & Shop that day. She admitted driving Ditty to Stop & Shop on Oct. 6, 2013, but denied knowing he was going to steal a wallet.
She told Leary that before going to Stop & Shop, she drove Ditty to the Newburyport Market Basket. She also told Leary that Ditty had struggled with drugs in the past and believed he was “back into it,” Leary wrote in his report.
As a result of Leary’s interview with the ex-girlfriend, Newburyport police began investigating a similar incident at the city’s Market Basket.