By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
We all want to believe that there’s a great deal of good out there in the world.
But the reality is, the world is far from a place where people from all walks of life aren’t committing tiny evils that bring them a bit of pleasure.
One of those tiny evils finds itself in people who steal from their workplace.
These aren’t the types of thieves who sneak into the cash register and slip a few dollars.
Instead, these are the employees who take everyday items that they could easily just buy on their own – all the while, they feel no regret for stealing because they think management can simply replace them.
In one of the most bizarre real-world crimes to have been reported, a grocery store employee in Bolivar in the US state of Ohio is facing theft charges for allegedly stealing US$9,200 worth of cold meats.
That’s almost AU$13,000.
But she didn’t steal all the ham all at once. Rather, she did it three, four, or five pieces at a time.
According to the The Columbus Dispatch, the unnamed woman had worked at the Giant Eagle deli counter for the past eight years.
Woman Helped Herself to up to Five Slices of Ham Every Day
The Associated Press reports that during her time there, the woman reportedly helped herself to up to five slices of ham every day, occasionally switching up her cold meat preference with a few slices of salami.
The shop first discovered the alleged theft after the store’s loss-prevention manager reported the theft after receiving a tip about the unauthorised ham-scarfing.
The woman then admitted her crime to the deputies from the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department.
Thin Sliced Larceny: Woman Facing Potential Theft Charges
The woman is facing potential theft charges, however, Tuscarawas Country Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook that “felony charges were unlikely” despite her thin sliced larceny.
“While our office did take a report of the issue as requested by the store, no determination of charges has been made. The procedure is to send the report to the Prosecutor’s Office and they are the ones to decide.
“While my office does not have the authority to make the final decision in this case, I do feel confident that once all of the facts are relayed to the prosecutor, felony charges are unlikely,” the statement read.
The Maths: How Much Meat Exactly Did She Consume Over Eight Years?
It turns out that another employee at Giant Eagle did the maths on just how much meat the woman scoffed down over the eight-year period.
When added, if she ate 56 grams a day, five days a week, for eight years, the sum is 117 kilograms of ham.
That’s a lot of ham.
Larceny by clerk or servant includes transferring funds from a business account to your personal account, taking stock sale proceeds from a business, or pocketing cash from a till.
The item stolen is referred to as ‘property’, which includes real and personal property; money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods.
Larceny by clerk or servant is considered a serious offence by the courts as it is a form of fraud and involves a breach of trust.
Penalties for larceny by clerk or servant vary depending on the value of the stolen item.
A larceny charge involving clerk or servant can end up being finalised in a NSW District Court (instead of the Local Court) if the value of the stolen item exceeds $2,000. This can happen if an election to do so is made while the case travels in the Local Court first.
If someone guilty of this charge is sentenced in the District Court, a Judge can impose a penalty of up to 10-years in jail under section 156 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
However, in NSW the following maximum penalties apply to anyone guilty of larceny by clerk or servant where the case is ultimately sentenced by a Magistrate in the Local Court:
- If the value of the stolen item is up to $2,000- the Magistrate can impose a maximum penalty of up to 2-years prison and/or up to a fine of $2,200.
- If the value of the stolen item is up to $5,000- the Magistrate can impose a maximum penalty of up to 2-years prison and/or up to a fine of $5,500.
- If the value of the stolen item exceeds $5,000- the Magistrate can impose a maximum penalty of up to 2-years prison and/or up to a fine of $11,000.
Other factors, including previous criminal history and your otherwise good character may also play a part in sentencing.
Punishments for the offence of Larceny by Clerk or Servant are not merely limited to jail time either.
In NSW, courts may also impose other forms of penalties, including: an Intensive Correction Orders, Community Correction Order, Conditional Release Order without a criminal record or with a criminal record, or section 10 dismissal.
What Must be Proven to be Guilty of Larceny by Clerk or Servant
To be proven guilty of a larceny by clerk or servant charge, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt in court:
- A property was stolen by you; and
- The stolen property belonged to your employer or was in the possession of your employer; and
- You were employed by your employer during this time.
Stealing occurs when:
- The property was owned by your employer, or your employer controlled or possessed the property; and
- The property was taken and carried away by you with the intention to deprive the owner of it permanently; and
- You did this without any mistake on your end, with the knowledge that it was not your property; and
- There was an absence of consent for you to do this from the owner of that property.
How to Defend a Charge of Larceny by Servant or Clerk in NSW?
If any one of the following defences apply to your larceny charge, the court will return a not guilty verdict which will result in your charge being dismissed and you acquitted:
- You did it under a necessity or duress; or
- The prosecution fail to prove beyond reasonable doubt any one of the above mentioned elements of this crime in court; or
- At the time of taking the alleged stolen property, you did not have the intention of depriving the owner of it permanently; or
- At the time of stealing the property, you honestly thought that you were legally entitled to take the property, although you were in fact incorrect.
With criminal defence lawyers who attend all courts, including Wollongong, Newcastle, Penrith and 5 other locations in NSW, we specialise in all larceny charges.
We are available 24/7 on (02) 8606 2218.