Richmond law enforcement warns of cold weather crimes

Published: Jan. 26, 2016 at 4:16 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2016 at 4:28 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The law enforcement community warns some people are committing crimes on purpose to avoid sleeping in the cold.

A woman hurled a brick through a General Assembly building window. Police say she wanted a one-way ticket to jail with a warm bed and hot meal.

"One person doing that is too many," said Col. Roy Witham, Chief of Operations at the Richmond Justice Center.

Witham says during the winter, it happens more than you might think.

"It's sad, but when deputies have some tenure under their belt, they'll see the same old faces unfortunately," said Witham "They do it on purpose. It has been my experience that that occurs because they feel that that's their only avenue to stay warm."

The Richmond Justice center houses about 1,000 residents at any given time. They serve about 3,000 meals a day. It costs you about $60 per inmate, per day to provide a place for them to sleep and eat.

"The entire community has the burden of the cost of having folks incarcerated. It's not cheap," said Witham.

Police haven't identified the suspect, but she's charged with felony vandalism and assault because she allegedly punched a VCU student. Deputies said due to the massive winter storm, she has yet to see a judge.

"To the point that someone is looking to offend just for the reasons of getting out of the cold is an issue that we as a community need to address," said Witham.

The city's cold weather day warming site is open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. The site is located in the city's public safety building at 505 North 9th Street.

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