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Monegasque pensioner guilty of stealing from her neighbour

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The two women, aged 75 and 87 respectively, had become friends…

It was difficult to describe the case that came before Monaco Criminal Court. “It’s unpleasant and incomprehensible,” said the procurator. Over a three-month period, from November to February 2022, a 75-year-old pensioner stole cash from her 87-year-old neighbour who had become her friend over the years. It was the victim’s son, suspecting a discrepancy in his mother’s accounts over which he had power of attorney, who caught the neighbour red-handed.

He installed cameras in her bedroom when he noticed that his mother – who paid for everything in cash – had started withdrawing 2,000 euros a month instead of the usual 1,000. It didn’t take long for him to realise that it was her mother’s neighbour and friend who was taking money from the envelope containing the month’s outgoings. According to the video footage, she would usually take a 50 euro bill once a day.

“She sometimes made up to four ‘withdrawals’ in the same day,” said the victim’s lawyer, emphasising the relationship of trust between the two women.

At the defendant’s home, the police found more than 500 euros in her handbag and 800 euros in an envelope. The 75-year-old woman does not know exactly how much money she stole, but claims is it is less than 4,000 euros. The victim’s son estimated the loss at closer to 8,000 euros.

“It is difficult to put a figure on the damages,” said Thomas Brezzo, the victim’s lawyer. It is also difficult to know how the accused got into the victim’s home. Did she have keys or did she act while her neighbour was there? The mystery remains.

The defendant, who had no criminal record, could hardly claim to have acted out of necessity. With an income of 1,600 euros and a rent of 270 euros, the Monegasque did not have any financial concerns, nor an addiction of note. Although the two women were absent from the hearing which took place on Tuesday 18 October, the lawyer for the defendant, Maître Charles Lécuyer, said that she had expressed regret in her statement.

The judge nevertheless handed down a three-month suspended prison sentence, and ordered her to pay back 8,500 euros.