CINCINNATI — A decades-old shoplifting case from a defunct area department store finally went before a judge.
Rochelle Cooper, 60, got into trouble earlier this month in Indiana, charged with shoplifting. That’s when police discovered she had an outstanding warrant for the same kind of crime, dating back to 1979.
In that year, police accused Cooper of stealing leather coats from the now-closed H. & S. Pogue Company’s department store downtown.
“I was a relative rookie, with four years and change under my belt,” said Peter Rosenwald, Cooper’s attorney.
Once the old charges were brought back to court, the judge saw Rosenwald’s name and brought him back on the case.
“It’s kind of weird that something would pop up that long ago,” he said.
But, while the law might not forget, lawyers and defendants can be a different story.
“I talked with Miss Cooper in the justice center, to see if she remembered me,” Rosenwald said. “She didn’t, and I can’t say I remember her either.”
Rosenwald said somebody must not have been paying attention for that warrant to be out all those years.
“She was arrested in Kentucky, did time in Kentucky in one of their prisons, that — for whatever reason — someone didn’t run her name, fingerprints, what have you, to see if there was a warrant.
“So it just sat for 37 years, almost.”
And, it seems, that has worked in Cooper’s favor.
“The decision was made to dismiss (the case) because the odds were against (the prosecution) finding the witnesses,” Rosenwald said.
As for the merchandise?
“I suspect those leather coats were sold a long time ago,” he said.