A woman who pretended to be pregnant and gave police a fake name remained on the loose Monday – prompting serious questions about police security and extreme worry for the woman whose identity the suspect was allegedly using.
Tiffany Neumann, 23, fled from NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital around 10 p.m., authorities said.
Police said she gave them a fake name when she was arrested on the Upper West Side on Saturday on petty larceny and theft charges, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.
Neumann allegedly ordered food at the Hi Life Bar & Grill on Amsterdam Avenue at West 83rd Street, police said. But after eating, she apparently said she was sick and left without paying, according to police.
Police claimed Neumann then walked 50 feet to the Purdy Girl boutique where she stole clothes off the rack and stuffed them under her shirt.
The owner of the clothing store from which Neumann was accused of shoplifting said the suspect pretended to be pregnant while she was there.
“She had stuffed clothes up her shirt, and she’s like, ‘No, I’m just pregnant!’ Like, ‘I’m pregnant! I’m six months pregnant!” said Saskia Venet, a clerk at the store who witnessed the incident.
Venet said she and her coworker confronted Neumann and called police from the nearby 20th Precinct.
“She was completely resisting arrest. You know, she was doing that thing where she had, like, her feet on the hood of the car,” Venet said. “It was just absolutely ridiculous.”
Police had Neumann in custody, but then they didn’t.
As she was getting ready for her arraignment Sunday, she raised concerns about being pregnant and claimed she had bruising, sources told CBS2.
That was when one of the arresting officers took her to the hospital, where, police said, nurses put Neumann in an exam room in a gown and handcuffs.
After a doctor left the exam room, Neumann somehow slipped off the handcuffs, took off her gown, put on nurses scrubs and walked out of the hospital without anyone noticing, investigators said. The police officer who was supposed to be guarding Neumann had walked away to use the restroom, police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
Police said they’ve learned Neumann is not pregnant, that she made up the story to avoid facing a judge.
“There’s no excuse for it. She’s not a mastermind criminal. It’s purely due to inattentiveness and carelessness,” said NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill. “So the police officer was suspended last night.”
Following an alleged sighting of Neumann in Central Park Monday morning, police rushed to the area – but found nothing. Residents at an apartment building in Riverdale, the Bronx said detectives were also there searching, but it was a dead end.
Police called the incident embarrassing.
“I will not tolerate, as police commissioner, these continued lapses in what should be basic policing for the care and custody of a prisoner,” Bratton said.
“So the penalties being imposed, if we find the officer in fact was derelict in their duties, are going to be very significant.”
Read more at 1010 WINS NY.