Store worker stole, used elderly woman's debit card

A WARRNAMBOOL man has been fined $1500 for stealing an elderly woman’s debit card and using it to withdraw $1000.

Arie Bronkhurst, 23, of Raglan Parade, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft when he appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court.

The father of three was working at Dan Murphy’s on Gateway Road on August 2 when a woman in her 80s made a purchase using EFTPOS at his checkout.

After watching her enter a personal identification number, Bronkhurst kept her debit card, using it to withdraw $1000 from a South West Credit ATM over the next two days before dumping it in a bin.

CCTV footage from the bottle shop, which no longer employs Bronkhurst, and South West Credit led police to arrest him on August 28.

The court heard that when interviewed by police he said, “I thought I would take a chance. It’s hard times. Stupid people do stupid things.”

Defence counsel Danielle Svede said her client was deeply ashamed. “He’s very remorseful … and he paid the victim back as soon as he could get the money together.”

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said it was not difficult to imagine Bronkhurst’s theft caused the elderly victim some hardship.

“You chose a vulnerable member of the community to steal from,” he said.

“Even with time to think about what you were doing, you decided to take the stolen card and remove $1000 from this individual.”

The $1500 fine handed down was an aggregate penalty for the three counts of theft.


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