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No jail for thieving mother

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 14/05) - A 47-year-old mother of three who broke into a home in the middle of the night, with four people asleep upstairs, will not head to jail, a judge ruled Thursday.

The woman, who was later spotted by the homeowner walking down the street in his jacket, pleaded guilty to that charge and seven others during an appearance in territorial court.

Judge Bernadette Schmaltz rejected Crown prosecutor Loretta Colton's recommendation for a four to six months in jail. Defence attorney Paul Smith suggested a four month sentence.

"I don't want to send you to jail," said Schmaltz, who noted the woman was intoxicated during most of her crimes.

The woman - who told the court she gave up the bottle - does not appear to be a danger when sober, Schmaltz said.

The woman admitted to sneaking into a house July 7. A married couple, who were asleep with their two young children, heard noise coming from downstairs, said Crown prosecutor Loretta Colton.

The husband left his room, went to the main floor and then hopped into his jeep. He eventually spotted the woman on the street; she was wearing his jacket and his wife's bracelet.

"Fortunately, she is easily caught," said Colton.

Police found 16 stolen items on her, including wallets and keys.

The woman received a suspended sentence for the break-in. If she obeys the terms of a one-year probation order, she will not head to jail.

"I really regret what happened in the past," said the woman, who had other entries on her criminal record.

In a separate incident, the woman admitted to stealing the wallet of woman after she went into an employment office looking for work. The victim left the woman alone in her office for a few minutes. She realized later that day her wallet was gone.

During her court appearance, the woman pleaded guilty to eight charges: three thefts under $5,000, three counts of possession of stolen property, unlawfully being in a dwelling house and failure to appear in court.

She was also fined $150 and order to perform 50 hours of community service.