Alicia Walicke, of Cedar Park Texas, was arrested last Wednesday after she allegedly stole a bottle of wine from a gas station. According to Fox-4, Walicke told the arresting officers that she stole the $3.99 bottle of the fortified wine, MD 20/20, hoping to get arrested. She allegedly told police that her boyfriend had been arrested earlier that day. Alicia Walicke’s arrest went viral, but most of the articles were full of assumptions being relayed as fact.
#AliciaWalicke stole wine to be w/ her man in jail! Doesn’t she realized that men & women will be separate in jail? What a stupid woman!
— qixpoet (@qixpoet) August 16, 2014
Most news reports state that Walicke tried to get arrested so that she could visit her boyfriend, but police documents actually indicated a different possible motive. Quoting the police document rather than paraphrasing it changes the story. The police documentation of the alleged theft seems to indicate that the possible motive for allegedly trying to get arrested was actually feelings of remorse over her boyfriend’s arrest. The most highly cited article comes from the Statesman, which quoted the warrant in part. The quoted portion of the warrant stated:
“Walicke advised her boyfriend was arrested earlier that evening by Cedar Park Officers and it was her fault so she wanted to make things right and go to jail.”
The quote by the police and the overwhelming media reports offer two distinctly separate reports.
Police found Alicia sitting outside the gas station with the bottle of wine. Walicke was booked at the Williamston County jail. Alicia Walicke was released on five thousand dollars bond on Friday. The high bond was due to her previous record. Walicke had two previous convictions for misdemeanor theft. Court paperwork indicates that the felony charge she faces is theft of property (less than fifteen hundred dollars) with two or more previous convictions.
Reports indicated that police did not comment on Walicke’s recent arrest. The news is only credited to the police warrant. In the meantime, speculation over her motive is being presented as fact. Many writers have resorted to berating, bullying and inaccurate reporting. Even the charge Alicia faces is inaccurately reported in most of the online articles.
— Ozone Park Day Care (@LearningBeesStu) August 16, 2014
Some articles about the young woman have even bordered on sexual harassment. A writer from Jezebel wrote mockingly, “There have been no reports on whether or not Walicke saw her boyfriend after the inevitable arrest, but she sure does look happy in her mugshot.” The tweets, stories, and commentary were relentless.
In March, police were called to assist with Walicke after a call was dispatched claiming Walicke was making suicidal comments. While the officer was trying restrain her for medical evaluation, Alicia allegedly bit the Cedar Park police officer on the arm. Walicke was charged with assault against a public servant. At that time, police records reportedly indicated that the officer believed she was under the influence of an unknown drug, but no further reports were available. That case shows as still pending an indictment according to judicial records. According to sources, unlike media assumptions, Alicia Walicke was not under the influence of illegal drugs at that time.
One person pointed out that viral stories like these can ruin people’s lives. The media’s response to Alicia Walicke’s arrest brings up the subject of journalistic ethics and begs the question, “If police won’t elaborate on the details of a crime, is it acceptable for the media to surmise them?”