Judge shows no mercy for bank-card theft

PHILIPSBURG--A shameless crime committed at the expense of a friend and her sick mother, that is how Judge Tamara Tijhuis on Thursday qualified a case of bank-card theft. The 23-year-old defendant was sentenced to six months suspended, on two years' probation, 100 hours of community service and payment of damages set at US $4,613.92.

Nordica C. Reed admitted she had stolen the bankcard from the handbag of her friend's mother, who was in hospital at the time. She had used the bankcard and PIN-code to steal a total amount of $4,200 from ATM-machines in St. Maarten and Saba in August and September 2011.
The mother of a seven-year-old daughter was wearing her arm in a brace. She told the Judge she had undergone surgery. She pleaded guilty and said she had used the stolen money to buy clothes and shoes.
The victim has passed away in the meantime. The victim's daughter claimed damages. The woman was not present during Thursday's hearing and was represented by attorney-at-law Geert Hatzmann.
The lawyer said his client was residing in Saba and had decided not to travel to St. Maarten this time as not to increase expenses any further. The woman had travelled to St. Maarten last December to attend a previous hearing, which was postponed until Thursday.
Hatzmann said the travel expenses were included in the claim, as well as expenses made to acquire a declaration of succession on his client's behalf.
Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp requested the Court to sentence the defendant to six months suspended, 80 hours of community service and payment of $4,200 in damages to the daughter and son of the deceased. She recommended the Judge not to include the expenses in the amount.After a brief adjournment, Judge Tijhuis stated that although one of the crimes was committed outside of St. Maarten, she would still rule in both cases, because the crime committed is punishable in both entities of the Dutch Kingdom.The Judge considered theft proven. The evidence was based on the police report, video-camera images, and the suspect's confessions with the police, as well as in the courtroom.
(The Daily Herald)


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