ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Bangor woman has been charged with theft after she allegedly stole money from a woman’s apartment while collecting signatures for the Maine People’s Alliance, according to police.

Brianna Stein, 22, has since been fired, according to a spokesman for Maine People’s Alliance.

Stein was at the woman’s Water Street apartment on Friday evening when the alleged theft occurred. She is accused of taking $37 from the woman’s purse while the woman’s attention was directed elsewhere, Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page said Monday.

Page said he did not know the particulars of whether the woman had walked out of the room when the money allegedly was taken from her purse or what kind of petition effort Stein was working on. He noted that the theft charge is a misdemeanor, but it could be increased to a felony because of Stein’s prior criminal history.

According to stories previously published by the Bangor Daily News, Stein was charged in the fall of 2012 in connection with separate incidents of alleged theft and robbery in Penobscot County.

In September 2012, Stein was arrested on a charge of receiving stolen property after her husband, Maxwell Stein, allegedly stole more than $50,000 worth of merchandise from his Holden landlord. The following month, she was arrested in connection with an incident in Bangor in which she and her husband were accused of making off with pills that another man had in his possession.

Brianna Stein was convicted of receiving stolen property in connection with the September 2012 incident and of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon with the other, according to a copy of her criminal history record obtained Monday from the state Bureau of Identification. She also has other convictions for theft and violating conditions of release, according to the document.

Mike Tipping, communications director for Maine People’s Alliance, said Monday that Stein had worked for the organization for about a week and was fired as soon as the group was informed of Friday’s incident in Ellsworth. He said all MPA job applicants are asked if they have criminal histories. Stein mentioned only having a traffic violation and had a good letter of recommendation from a previous employer, he said.

“She definitely lied on the application,” Tipping said. “We do ask about that. We’ve never had something like this happen in 30 years.”

Maine People’s Alliance, a politically active issues-advocacy organization, has seven staff canvasser positions based out of its Bangor office, according to Tipping. He said that he once worked as a canvasser out of Maine People’s Alliance’s Bangor office and that, though it is an entry-level position, it is important work, and the people who do it need to be trustworthy.

“We can’t have any suspicion of this sort of thing with the type of work that we do,” Tipping said.

Stein is due to appear in court in Ellsworth on Feb. 18.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....