When Canonsburg police Officer James Eckels responded to a call about a stolen wallet last month, it is likely neither he nor the other officers ever imagined what a tangled web they would eventually unravel.
The woman suspecting of stealing the wallet from another Walgreen’s customer with a sleight of hand that Eckels called “slick” Aug. 5 has at least 65 aliases.
“It was definitely not her first rodeo,” Eckels said. “She had done this a number of times.”
Eckels, along with Sgt. Don Cross and Officer Carl Fetcko, discovered the woman they charged as 48-year-old Marianne Sadelmyer also uses nine birth dates and 10 Social Security numbers, and has a criminal history that stretches into California, Oregon, New York, Ohio and Florida. By all accounts, her latest arrest appears to be her first in Pennsylvania.
Her mistake may have been trying to return items reportedly stolen from Canonsburg’s Shop ’n Save to Walgreens. That’s when she allegedly stole the wallet and then used the debit card to make purchases at the same Shop ’N Save. A store employee became suspicious and gave Canonsburg police a license number that led them to Sadelmyer, who had been staying with a Chartiers Township family. She was using the name Marion Freeman while living in Chartiers.
She is wanted on outstanding warrants from communities including Buffalo and Tonawanda in northwestern New York on charges of theft, identity theft and forgery.
Her criminal past is extensive, police learned. In the mid-1990s, she filed a lawsuit against the New York prison system claiming she was impregnated by a prison guard who kept her against her will in a motel room, Cross said. She was on work release at the time. Sadelmyer alleges she lost the twins she was carrying after contracting Lyme disease and never received treatment while in the jail.
Sadelmyer also told Canonsburg police that she was a material witness in a murder case in Erie County, N.Y. She reportedly was imprisoned with Robin Kalinowski, who was convicted earlier this year during a third trial for killing her husband by shooting him in the head while he slept. Kalinowski was convicted at a second trial, but that was overturned on appeal.
Sadelmyer was a witness for the prosecution in the first trial after claiming that Kalinowski admitted to killing her husband. That trial ended in a hung jury.
“She was a jailhouse informant,” Cross said. “She was in jail with Robin.”
In searching Sadelmyer’s belongings, Canonsburg police found newspaper clippings from that first trial. Reports published in the New York newspapers said Sadelmyer offered her occupation during Kalinowski’s 2009 as “petit larceny.” She was in jail serving time for theft and forgery.
Sadelmyer also reportedly testified that Kalinowski asked for help in finding someone to kill her boyfriend, who was to testify against her.
“They set up a sting,” Cross said. “Instead of a hit man, she hired an undercover trooper.”
Also found with her things are what Canonsburg police believe were special codes that Sadelmyer used with Kalinowski. But they learned New York prosecutors devised the code to communicate with Sadelmyer. She disappeared prior to the start of Kalinwoski’s third trial earlier this year. Prosecutors the issued a material witness warrant for her.
“She got wind of it (warrant) and called the prosecutor,” Cross said. “She told him she wasn’t coming back. The judge allowed them to play her deposition.”
How she got to the Canonsburg area is anybody’s guess.
“It is like she just migrated here,” Eckels said.
Police found insurance and public assistance documents in the name of Marianne Jean Freeman, and planned to have hip replacement surgery here using that alias.
Eckels said she had a guide on how to make documents to give her a new identity. Fetcko said she could write her own book on the subject.
“She had no identification and started telling us that she was a victim of domestic abuse in Seattle and had been relocated,” Cross said.
Sadelmyer told police she was in a national domestic violence protection program after a former husband shoved her out of a moving car. Police immediately became suspicious, as they had never heard of such a program.
“She said she had the name assigned to her,” Eckels said.
Sadelmyer produced for Canonsburg police a New Jersey birth certificate for Marianne Jean Freeman. But police were able to determine the certificate was fake.
After seeing a photo and story about Sadelmyer’s arrest in the Observer-Reporter, a North Strabane Township woman contacted Canonsburg police. She told police that the woman, who identified herself as Marion Freeman Fields, said she was looking for a place to stay and found her address posted at a woman’s shelter. The woman told Sadelmyer that her house was not ready to be used as a shelter but agreed to let her stay.
The North Strabane woman told Canonsburg police that she was almost immediately suspicious of Sadelmyer. She had seen a briefcase carried by Sadelmyer reportedly containing numerous fake birth certificates, Social Security cards and numerous medical documents in the name of Marion Freeman. There were also newspaper clippings about the homicide in New York.
Prescription medications also would be mailed to Sadelmyer. She would visit various pharmacies in the area, mostly to obtain opiates. Sadelmyer also talked frequently to men who went by the names of Ave and Deuce.
“There may be more aliases out there,” Cross said. “Who knows?”
Police Chief R.T. Bell said his officers did a good job.
“They could have just let it go,” Bell said. “But they kept digging.”
A week ago, Sadelmyer waived charges filed by Canonsburg police while still insisting she did nothing wrong by using an alias. Police said Sadelmyer has waived extradition and likely will be returned to New York to face those charges.