‘It was only $40’: Career criminal accused of pickpocketing dead man back on the streets without bail

The homeless career criminal seen in a viral video pickpocketing the body of a man who’d just been run over by a truck was reportedly released without bail within 24 hours of her arrest this week.

Geniece Draper, a 40-year-old homeless woman with 40+ prior arrests under her belt, was freed in a Manhattan courtroom on Friday, despite facing charges of grand and petit larceny over the heinous actions she’d taken on Thursday, Oct. 6th.

That day two weeks ago, a truck driver accidentally plowed into homeless man Jerome Smith, 62, crushing and killing him.

Immediately after, Draper was spotted (and thankfully recorded) pickpocketing Smith’s body.

It took a couple of days, but local authorities finally apprehended her this past Thursday after a few New York Police Department transit officers recognized her at a subway station in Manhattan.

“As soon as they made eye contact, the lady did a 180° – but these Transit cops patrolling the Times Square complex immediately recognized her as the thief sought for pickpocketing a man after he was fatally struck by a truck last week,” according to a statement from the NYPD’s Transit Bureau.

However, within 24 hours of her arrest, she was free again. Moreover, she remained adamant that she’d done nothing wrong.

“As she left Manhattan Criminal Court on supervised release, the brazen Draper denied she did anything wrong and insisted … that she was only snatching back cash that belonged to her from the man, who was also homeless and identified as Jerome Smith, 62,” the New York Post reported.

“He robbed me first. He got killed after,” Draper said to the Post.

Apparently, she and Smith used to date, or so she claimed to the paper.

“I could have killed him. He robbed $120 from me. I knew the guy. I had a date with him,” she said.

She added that she purposefully only took cash — versus Smith’s credit card — because her intent had just been to take back what was hers.

“I didn’t steal nothing,” she insisted.

The problem is her testimony to law enforcement investigators contradicts what she said to the Post.

“It was only $40. I knew him from the area but I didn’t know him personally,” she reportedly said to investigators.

She also reportedly told the police that she’d tried to buy something with Smith’s blood-soaked money but had been rejected because of the blood.

“Draper allegedly told cops she tried to use the money from his wallet but a cashier wouldn’t accept it because it was covered in blood,” according to the Post.

As previously noted, she’s a career criminal whose crimes date back to 2007 and include grand larceny, petty larceny, drugs, and prostitution — with the latest crime, aside from the pickpocketing, having occurred just two days earlier.

“The defendant has two felony convictions, 42 misdemeanors and 16 failures to appear,” a prosecutor reportedly said at Friday’s hearing.

Nevertheless, thanks to New York State’s bail reform law from 2019, suspects in the state can no longer be held on bail if facing charges of petit larceny or grand larceny.

While some could argue that it’s not too big of a deal in this case since Draper is a non-violent offender, plenty of violent officers have benefitted from the bail law as well.

Take the case of Eugene Clark, a parolee who beat a man to death in September of 2021. Yet after he was indicted months later in February, he too was soon freed without bail.

This keeps happening, despite the data showing that of the 4,062 felony suspects who were released without bail between July 1st, 2020 and June 30, 2021, 43 percent “were rearrested while their case was pending,” according to the Post.

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Vivek Saxena

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