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November 13, 2012

Woman’s reputation hurt when wrong photo released in theft case

HAVERHILL, Mass. — Three weeks ago, police released a bank surveillance photo of a woman with a “Believe” tattoo on her chest who appears to be making a withdrawal from an ATM using a stolen debit card.

The woman was identified, but later it was discovered the bank had released the wrong photo. As it turned out Ginesis Gil, 23, was just another customer making a transaction, not someone trying to obtain money fraudulently.

The problem was that the photo had been released by the police and printed in the newspaper.

Gil said the mistake threw her life into immediate turmoil.

“It was horrible,” said Gil. “I couldn’t take my children Trick-or-Treating and when I went to Market Basket to pick up a few things, people were staring at me. And when I brought my children to the bus stop, other moms were talking about me.”

Law enforcement described the mixup as an "unfortunate mistake and we acknowledge that as a result of the error she had her picture put in the paper,” Deputy police Chief Donald Thompson said about Gil.

Gil’s lawyer, Thomas Torrisi, said his client wants back “her otherwise unblemished reputation in the community.”

The woman said she and her lawyer met with Detective Carl Rogers Nov. 1 and showed him the bank documents. Torrisi said it wasn’t until the following day that police contacted him to say Gil was cleared.

Torrisi said he isn’t trying to place blame on anyone but hopes more caution will be used by police in the future.

“As an effective took as this might be (referring to releasing photos of suspects), it has to be approached in an investigative fashion and not an accusatory fashion,” Torrisi said.

---

Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.

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