DC woman fined $1,000 after stolen package boxes found in pile of trash

A woman in Northeast D.C. said she feels like she's been victimized twice - once by a package thief and once by the city's public works department after they found the boxes her stolen goods were shipped in.

"I would like for this nightmare to go away," Shayla Roberts told FOX 5 Monday afternoon.

It all started back in November when Roberts had packages delivered to her home, which she said were stolen. The companies who shipped the packages agreed to send her new products, no questions asked, but things became more complicated when Roberts received a Notice of Violation from the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) days later.

The notice said Roberts' violation occurred about six blocks from her home on the 1100 block of Raum Street, NE.

Pictures taken by DPW showed a large pile of trash that included the remnants of Roberts' stolen packages, including the invoices listing her home address. An inspector had written, "Please remove and properly dispose of all bags of trash and other debris illegally dumped in the alley." The notice also said Roberts was being fined $1,000.

"It was like a slap in the face," she said.

Roberts said both she and her Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner called and emailed DPW repeatedly but didn't have any luck getting the fine rescinded, which is why she decided to speak with the media.

It ended up working out.

In response to media inquiries, a DPW spokesperson said Roberts' fine had actually been rescinded last week, after Roberts produced a police report showing that she had, in fact, been victimized by a package thief. That, however, was news to Roberts, who first learned the fine had been rescinded when FOX 5 called her after speaking with DPW.

"I'm not sure whether I should be excited or just hold off until I hear something," she said over the phone.

In response to a request for comment, DPW sent over the following statement Monday night:

"Whenever illegal dumping is reported via 311, an inspector from the Department of Public Works (DPW) is dispatched to try to determine who may have been responsible," wrote Director Chris Geldart. "In this instance, multiple items were found with a person's address on it, which led to them receiving a citation. Once a police report was produced indicating that the items found had been stolen, the citation was dismissed. While this situation is very uncommon, we encourage anyone who experiences theft to file a police report, so that instances like this can be quickly remedied."