Woman steals donation jar meant for family of slain 7-year-old, Sheriff's Office says

Donations stolen to support suspect's 'crack cocaine addiction,' authorities say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman caught on a Jacksonville restaurant’s surveillance video taking a donation jar intended for the family of a slain 7-year-old girl told police she did so to support her drug habit, authorities said Saturday.

Tammy Wynnell Crews, 46, was booked Saturday into the Duval County jail, where she remains in custody on charges of felony grand theft and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, reports News 6 partner WJXT.

The arrest came hours after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office posted surveillance video on social media showing a woman swipe a donation jar containing $600 from the counter of Tapatio Restaurant on 103rd Street.

WATCH: Woman caught on camera taking donation jar

The donations were intended for the family of Heydi Rivas Villanueva, who was shot and killed Aug. 11 in the parking lot of the strip mall where the restaurant is located.

She was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between three men, police said. All three have been arrested in the case. A memorial is growing at the strip mall in honor of the little girl.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the theft occurred Thursday, but staff at the restaurant did not report it to police until the following day when they realized the donations were gone.

Once the video made its rounds on social media Saturday, police got a tip that Crews was the woman seen in the clip. She was spotted and detained along 103rd Street shortly after 3 p.m.

Police said Crews was arrested after acknowledging taking the donations and using the money to "support her crack cocaine addiction." A crack pipe was recovered during the arrest.

Crews' bond was set at $10,000.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.