Handbag thief tries to bargain

A SOUTH Grafton man charged with stealing $500 from the handbag of an 81-year-old woman tried to bargain with the court over his plea.

Kieren Chartres-Abbott, 26, appeared via an audio visual link from prison when he faced Grafton Local Court on Monday.

Magistrate Jeff Linden asked Chartres-Abbott if he intended to plead guilty to the charge of larceny arising from the theft.

"I will if you allow me to serve the time concurrently," Chartres-Abbott told the court, which aroused mild laughter from those in the court.

Magistrate Linden asked when he was due for release and learned it was September 27, 2014.

The police facts showed Chartres-Abbott and a co-accused were the only passengers when they boarded a bus at South Grafton on January 20.

They noticed a handbag left on the bus and CCTV footage showed them move from their seats to the seat where the handbag had been left on the floor.

Later, when the victim of the theft and her daughter stopped the bus on the Grafton side of the bridge, the handbag was gone.

No-one had boarded the bus after the two accused left the bus in Through St, South Grafton.

Police visited the house where Chartres-Abbott and the co-accused lived. They denied knowledge of the theft.

In February police spoke to Chartres-Abbott's partner on another matter and she made full admissions to the theft of the handbag.

She said the pair had spent $500 and burnt the handbag and its contents in their backyard.

Magistrate Linden described the theft as a "low act".

"The victim was 81 years old. As well as the money, you took all her cards and put her to all that trouble replacing them," he said.

Chartres-Abbott offered to repay the money to the woman, "if it's necessary".

Magistrate Linden sentenced him to a four-month fixed term, from April 14 and ordered him to pay $500 compensation to the victim.

"The sentence is not too dissimilar to your current sentence, so it's virtually concurrent," he said.

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