Creating more victims is the wrong way to help someone who is in trouble, a provincial court judge told a Red Deer housekeeper who pleaded guilty to stealing from one of her clients.
Zoe Alexandra Duval, 22, pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Monday to stealing a designer wallet and, subsequent to that, failing to attend the Blackfalds RCMP detachment for fingerprinting.
Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said Shane and Kimberly Lokszyn of Blackfalds had installed video surveillance because of suspicious activities in their home.
Videos showed Duval going through drawers and opening closets in areas that she was not contracted to clean.
They also show her removing a designer wallet, worth US$610, said Bell.
Court heard that Duval pawned the wallet for $20, unaware that it was an original.
There were no submissions concerning the wallet’s contents, if any.
Kimberly Lokszyn said in her victim impact statement that she felt used and betrayed by a person who had acted like a friend, that she has lost her ability to trust and she is no longer comfortable asking people into her home.
Defence counsel Walter Kubanek told Judge Gordon Yake that Duval had been a board member of a Toronto-based Roma association and had dedicated herself to fighting racist perceptions about her people, more commonly known as gypsies.
She said she took the wallet because she needed money for the legal defence of a Roma woman living in Toronto and being deported to Hungary.
Kubanek said his client lost all of her contracts after the charges were laid and now works a retail store in Red Deer.
After hearing Duval offer apologies to the Lokszyns, Yake told her that, while he appreciates she was trying to help someone out, there are alternative means for raising money.
“You don’t help one person by creating another victim,” said Yake.
He said the Alberta Court of Appeal has determined that jail time is necessary for people caught stealing from their employers, except under exceptional circumstances, and he found nothing exceptional about Duval’s offence. Rather, he found it particularly aggravating that she had committed the theft in the sanctity of her employers’ home.
He sentenced Duval to 45 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and ordered that she pay victim of crime surcharges on both offences as well as restitution for the stolen wallet. He also ordered her to attend the Blackfalds RCMP for fingerprinting.