Woman accused of stealing local homeless shelter employee’s vehicle

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CROWLEY, La. (KLFY)- An Acadiana homeless shelter got ripped off over the weekend.
Police say a woman stole an employee’s vehicle and now they just want her to return it.
The suspect was driven to the shelter Sunday morning.

“She was dropped off in the parking lot somewhere around 8 a.m. We’re not sure who dropped her off,” said Stacey Miller, executive director of the nonprofit Welcome House in Crowley.

“They just dropped her in the parking lot and pulled off and she came in and she asked if we would help her and obviously, we said yes and we took her in.”


Miller says the first thing the staff does when a potential resident walks through their doors, is to let them take a bath, eat and sleep.

That’s what they did for one woman who was dropped off yesterday.


“When she woke up, everybody was in church, but my kitchen manager was in the kitchen and so she went into the kitchen,” Miller said. “She was standing on the outside of the window to speak to her and they were just carrying conversation.”

Without the shelter employee knowing, the suspect allegedly stole her car keys from the kitchen window.

Kelli Palermo (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office)

The suspect, identified as Kelli Palermo, has stayed in the shelter before, Miller said.

“Michelle actually came here several months ago as a resident and she got her life together and she started walking in the right direction,” the executive director said.

Miller said in her 10 years of being involved with the shelter, no resident has ever stolen a car.

“We’re just not used to this out here. I would rather it happen to the shelter van then one of theirs because they struggle to get on their feet,” Miller said. “And to just come in and take something that they worked so hard for or waited so long for it touches the heart.”

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