WHEELING - Bonnie Grewe, who was arrested days after publicly criticizing Wheeling police and then exonerated when another woman confessed to the crime, will meet with a lawyer this week to pursue wrongful arrest charges.
James Villanova, a Pittsburgh-based lawyer, confirmed that he will meet with Grewe to discuss the case. He declined to comment further.
Villanova already is Grewe's attorney in an ongoing lawsuit against a real estate company.
Grewe declined to comment on the wrongful arrest charge or a possible lawsuit.
At least two officers identified Grewe, 51, as the woman seen on video surveillance stealing a wallet last week from a retail store on Chapline Street.
Hours after the theft, Grewe criticized the police department during a community meeting in East Wheeling for their investigation and arrest of her son, Cory Henry, on "false allegations."
The meeting, which was led by Delores Wiggins, president of the Ohio Valley Black Caucus, was advertised as an opportunity to "stand against the corruption" of Wheeling police, municipal judges, county magistrates and prosecutors.
Grewe turned herself in to police Sept. 30 after learning there was a warrant for her arrest. She "profusely proclaimed her innocence" that day, a police report states.
Wiggins said that following Grewe's arrest, a "liaison" of the Black Caucus in Wheeling noticed the resemblance between Grewe and 50-year-old Wheeling resident Geraldine Goeller. That woman subsequently contacted Goeller, who admitted to the crime, according to Wiggins.
Police were provided with that information, and Goeller admitted to officers she was the one who stole the wallet that day, according to court filings.
Police provided that information to the prosecutor's office, which dropped the case again Grewe on Thursday.
Goeller turned herself in to police later that night and was charged with petit larceny.
Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger took responsibility for the misidentification, but denied it was a police retaliating against Grewe. He remarked how similar Grewe and Goeller look.
Wiggins said Grewe and Goeller "could pass for twins."