There are all kinds of thieves and con artists in the world today. Most of them are competent in their deceit; scheming, plotting and conniving their way to ill-gotten wealth. Others, like one Ms. Angela Pershouse of Gladstone, Queensland, well… not so much. After blatantly swiping $50 in pokies money directly out of a player’s hand and bolting out the door of a local club, the not-so-clever culprit earned herself an appointment with the Magistrate.
The incident occurred at around 3:15pm on June 24, 2015 at The Club Hotel in southeast Gladstone. The female victim, who has not been named, was sitting in front of a poker machine. In her hand was $50 in cash, which she fully intended to insert into the machine, expecting to enjoy a fun and relaxing stint on the pokies and maybe—just maybe—walk away a bit richer. Instead, what happened next was dumbfounding.
Another woman, later identified as 24 year old Angel Pershouse, casually walked up to the woman and stood on her left. In a fleeting moment, Pershouse snatched the pokies money from the woman’s hand and made a bee-line for the front door of the hotel. She continued on foot down Tank St, quickly disappearing before the stunned victim or anyone else present could react to stop her.
The authorities were notified and a description given, but it wasn’t until three weeks later that the Gladstone police department caught up with the thief.
Officers were called to the scene of another crime on July 18 as patrons of the Valley Shopping Centre@ Gladstone Square, a mere three blocks from The Club Hotel, complained of a young woman begging for money.
Begging (and Stealing) a Crime in Queensland
According to Part 2, Division 1, Section 8 of the Summary Offences Act of Queensland, entitled ‘Begging in a public place’:
|(1) A person must not—
(a) beg for money or goods in a public place; or
(b) cause, procure or encourage a child to beg for money or goods in a public place; or
(c) solicit donations of money or goods in a public place.
The maximum penalty for begging for money in public is a fine of up to 10 units ($1,178), or 6 months in prison. Likewise, the penalty for stealing in Queensland is up to 5 years in prison.
Based on that information, it would seem Ms. Pershouse got off pretty easy.
Magistrate shows Compassion through Leniency
The 24 year old appeared in Gladstone Magistrates Court this month, where she pled guilty to both crimes.
Jun Pepito, representing the defendant, explained that Ms. Pershouse is the recipient of disability pension, and that all of her affairs are managed by the Public Trustee. Therefore his client had no rational excuse for stealing the pokies player’s money, or begging for handouts at Gladstone Square.
Magistrate Mark Morrow took note of the woman’s age and subpar health condition, ruling with compassionate leniency. Ms. Pershouse was fined $250 for stealing the pokies money, and ordered to reimburse the gambler her $50. She was then fined an additional $100 for public begging.
Acquiescent to her punishment, Angela Pershouse courteously requested that the court remit her fines to the Public Trustee for payment.