An Owego businessman is showing compassion toward a former employee who allegedly stole thousands of dollars from him.

Owego Police arrested 28 year-old Katelyn Miller earlier this week and charged her with stealing more than $21,000 from Weitsman Recycling on Main Street.

Owner Adam Weitsman says Miller had only been on the job for three days and he hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her.

But, since the arrest became public, Weitsman says he has heard rumors that Miller is battling drug addiction and that she may have stolen the money to feed her habit.

On Wednesday, Weitsman wrote on his Facebook page that he would be willing to agree to drop the charges if Miller can stay drug-free for a year.

Weitsman says money is replaceable but youth lives are not.

“People that we know, their kids are dying. I had a really good friend of mine died of an overdose 6 or 7 years ago. Close, personal friend. It’s out of control,” he said.

Weitsman says his Facebook post got a tremendous amount of response, both in agreement and opposed.

He says it’s incumbent on Miller’s attorney to reach out to him and for the District Attorney and Judge to agree.

Weitsman says the offer is not being made to Miller’s boyfriend, 35 year-old Brooks York, who is charged with possession of stolen property, tampering with evidence and conspiracy in connection with the theft. 

His Facebook post reads:

“Definitely had mixed emotions when a new, young employee who I never met before stole money from our safe ($21000) last week and got arrested and she admitted guilt after just their third day of working here. (we are not insured for any loss fyi). I was really angry and upset but i think maybe I should be forgiving and strive to be a part of the solution to help these local young kids with this huge drug epidemic we are facing. Rumor ( I have no fact) is that this theft was most likely because of a possible drug addiction of the responsible parties involved. We all know how heroin is destroying our area and many other regions also.
I will make this offer to the people that stole the money. I will try and ask the DA and the police to defer the sentencing on this. You go get help, you pass a strict drug test for a year with zero slip ups and I will ask the court to drop all charges even though you have already admitted the theft to the police. Money is replaceable but our local youths lives are not. The ball is in your court now.”