Volunteer guilty in Ribfest scam
BY BILL BIRD firstname.lastname@example.org November 19, 2012 9:26PM
Nadia L. Greenidge, 29, of Chicago, is charged with felony theft of more than $500 but less than $10,000 during last weekend's annual Ribfest celebration in Naperville. | Courtesy of Naperville Police Department
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:18AM
A woman from Chicago has been convicted of stealing more than $500 while serving as a volunteer last summer during Naperville’s annual Ribfest celebration.
Nadia L. Greenidge pleaded guilty Monday in DuPage County Circuit Court in Wheaton to a misdemeanor charge of theft, said Paul Darrah, spokesman for DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin.
Greenidge, 29, had originally been charged with theft or unauthorized control over more than $500 but less than $10,000, a felony. That followed the June 30 incident in Knoch Park, where the Naperville Exchange Club’s 25th annual Ribfest was being held.
Judge Blanche Hill Fawell convicted Greenidge of the reduced theft charge and placed her on two years of probation, Darrah said.
Naperville police in July suspected Greenidge of working with others in the scam. Greenidge would allegedly buy food or beverages from associates who were working at Ribfest booths and be given “change” that amounted to far more than the costs of her purchases.
Sgt. Lou Cammiso, the department’s media relations officer, confirmed Monday “there were a couple of other people involved in that theft.” Police ultimately identified and questioned two women about their ties to Greenidge, he said.
“As the case unfolded, detectives were faced with using those other people as witnesses or charging them” with crimes, Cammiso said. Because the women could have refused to talk to police at all, “the decision was made to not charge them and use them as witnesses” against Greenidge, he said.
Proceeds from Ribfest “go to elimination of child abuse and domestic violence,” according to the Naperville Exchange Club’s website.
Club President Jennifer Cavalier said she was unaware of the case’s resolution until contacted Monday evening by The Sun.
“Obviously, it’s always a concern when this type of situation occurs at any fund-raising event,” Cavalier said. Exchange Club officers will “definitely be revisiting what our volunteer and sign-up policies are” prior to next summer’s Ribfest, she said.
Cavalier noted an “E-ticket” system was implemented last year for some Ribfest sales.
“I think the city is moving toward selling tickets for all beverages” in advance of future special events, Cavalier said. Exchange Club officials will explore the possibility of converting to the advance ticket system, rather than having patrons pay for beverages in cash, she said.
The money Greenidge stole has been held by police as evidence, and is to be returned to the Exchange Club.