MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 12-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department was arrested Friday and charged with shipping law enforcement equipment to a convicted felon, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced in a news release.
Officer Loudy Pierre Applewhaite was most recently assigned to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Prosecutors said she stole several law enforcement items and had them shipped to a convicted felon overseas.
Applewhaite is charged with one count of official misconduct, two counts of grand theft and one count of petit theft. The first two charges are third-degree felonies and the third charge is a second-degree misdemeanor.
"There never can be an excuse for a corrections officer sinking to the level of the criminal defendants she oversees," Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "Allegedly stealing law enforcement materials that could aid criminal activity and sending those materials to a convicted felon is an obvious formula for disaster. I am relieved that our law enforcement partnership with the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has brought this individual to justice."
Prosecutors said the investigation began in March when several items used by correctional officers were reported missing from the department's warehouse.
Applewhaite was assigned to the MDCR warehouse at the time, the news release stated.
Prosecutors said several more items went missing from the warehouse during the subsequent months, including a handheld police radio, antenna, a battery, personal body armor and carriers.
According to the news release, Applewhaite completed an incident report regarding the missing items and documented that she had no knowledge of how the items went missing.
But authorities said surveillance video shows the officer entering the warehouse with a large yellow and black bag that appeared to be empty. Shortly thereafter, she left the warehouse with the same bag that now appeared full, authorities said.
According to the news release, Applewhaite's daughter, Victoria Applewhaite, was later captured on surveillance cameras at the USPS Quail Heights Post Office in South Miami-Dade, packing what appeared to be the same yellow and black bag into a USPS box, paying in cash, and shipping it to her father, Victor Applewhaite, in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
Prosecutors said Victor Applewhaite is Loudy Applewhaite's ex-husband and a convicted felon.
"The Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department is committed to maintaining a high caliber of employees dedicated to public service and will take appropriate actions when an employee engages in criminal activity such as theft of government property," MDCR Director Daniel Junior said in a statement. "This investigation demonstrates our firm commitment to maintaining the public trust. We are disappointed that the actions of one employee could distract from the good work and dedication of our employees. MDCR takes allegations of employee misconduct seriously and this arrest should send a strong message that employees involved in these types of crimes will not be tolerated and will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law."