Man accused of stealing 37 doormats from Manhattan banks

Here's a sad profile of William Footman, an inmate at Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward who is believed to be behind at least 37 robberies in which the doormats were stolen from banks. Footman admits to some of these, but says that the rest weren't him; he claims to have worked at a rug factory, to have a wife and 15 daughters, and to have made ends meet by selling stolen bank doormats to bodegas. But there's a clear impression that he's a fabulist, possibly delusional, and that he's really in a bad place, despite the weirdness of his crimes.

He did not steal any of the rugs on the list dating back to March, he said. “I wasn’t even in town on some of those dates,” he said. Besides, he said, he got free rugs from his job. He said he had worked there on and off since the 1970s to support his family. “I have 15 daughters,” he said. “They’re grown. Now it’s like I’ve got 15 mothers.”

He was out of work for a spell. That was a year ago. So, he said, he stole rugs. From banks.

“Maybe seven,” he said. “All over the city.” Always at night, he said. He was never caught.

What did he do with the rugs?

“I sell them to bodegas,” he said. “Their floors get wet.” He got $30 and higher per rug, he said. It was unclear on Friday what the rugs were worth.

A Thief Struck Many Banks, but Never Took a Dime [Michael Wilson/NYT]

(Thanks, Tom Morrow!)

(Image: rubber doormat, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from calliope's photostream)