Firefighter who sued city accused of theft

August 10, 2010 4:30:44 PM PDT
A Houston firefighter who claims she was the victim of harassment last year is now accused of trying to take items without paying. Firefighter Jane Draycott is out on bond after being arrested Monday on shoplifting charges. You may recognize her name as one of two female firefighters who claimed they were being harassed on the job last year.

HFD's internal affairs division is in the process of gathering the facts of this case. Acting Houston Fire Chief Rick Flanagan says it's critical for the department to give her all the support it can.

Last year, Draycott found herself at the center of a harassment scandal after racist and sexist graffiti was scribbled all over her quarters. The 41-year-old, who later sued the city, is now facing some legal troubles of her own. Authorities say they arrested Draycott Monday night after she was caught shoplifting from a Walmart Supercenter in Spring.

"It's our understanding they saw her pass all points of payment for her merchandise and stopped her," said Chief Mark Herman with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office.

Draycott, who was wearing her on-duty Polo shirt at the time, is accused of trying to steal a DVD player, two DVD's, and a bag of ice -- all valued at more than $200.

Walmart's surveillance cameras allegedly caught her in the act.

Draycott appeared before a judge early Tuesday morning. No one answered the door at her Magnolia home Tuesday afternoon.

She had apparently left work Monday because of an on-the-job injury.

Draycott has been with HFD for the past ten years and will remain on active duty pending the outcome of this investigation.

The fire chief says this incident has no bearing on her credibility, which had been called into question on the previous harassment allegations.

"We want to give a good look at all of the content so that we can make the right decision as we weigh in," said Chief Flanagan. "So this won't have any effect on that. We're mainly concerned about what she brings to the table when she works."

Houston attorney Rusty Hardin is representing Draycott in this case. Chief Flanagan says Draycott deserves her day in court. She's scheduled to appear on August 17.


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