Blue Care worker charged for stealing from ‘little old lady’
A 55-year-old Wondai aged care worker has been fined $750 for helping herself to her 78-year-old client's purse.
Noreen Wessling pleaded guilty to all five charges of stealing at Murgon Magistrates Court.
Police prosecutor sergeant Barry Stevens said despite the insignificant amount of money, it's a gross breach of trust.
"Although it's a small amount of money, it's a very serious offence and is a significant breach of trust," Sgt Stevens said.
"When the investigation commenced the defendant said she had been taking money for about a month and said she waited for victim to take showers before taking money out of the victims purse.
"As the defendant is 55 years old with no previous convictions I did not seek a jail term."
Police received a complaint about the stolen money on 23 April.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair read the list of charges, spanning from March 24 - 20 April, with the total amount of money stolen coming to $73.55.
The first incident occurred on 24 March when $10 went missing from the victims purse.
The second incident occurred on 3 April when $34 went missing from the victims purse.
The third incident occurred on 8 April when $20 went missing from the victims purse.
The fourth incident occurred on 15 April when $3.55 went missing from the victims purse.
The fifth incident occurred on 20 April when $6 was taken from the victims purse.
The defendants lawyer Mark Werner said the stealing was very out of character.
"There are obviously some underlying issues here like stress at work and health issues because something caused a change in behaviour for Ms Wessling," Mr Werner said,
"It's a breach of trust, but she has no history of stealing, is embarrassed and regretful and has lost her job as a result of her actions.
"She has paid back $55 out of job seeker payments, is recovering from physical illness and has no criminal history."
Magistrate Sinclair said the long term good behaviour in which the defendant has conducted her life is a major influence in the decision of this case.
"I have taken into account you are a mature person with no convictions and you admitted to what you did," Mr Sinclair said.
"You were involved in stealing silly amounts of money from a little old lady, which won't enrich your life and seem very random, $3.55 for example.
"This is very out of character and I believe losing your job is a very significant punishment.
"Everyone gets a chance to make a mistake and therefore I will fine you $750 and order you to pay back the remaining $18.55 for compensation."