Couple stole from rugby club
A married couple contrived to steal thousands of dollars from a Manawatu rugby club, leaving the organisation’s other members feeling ‘‘stabbed in the back’’.
Between September 3 last year and June 6 the Feilding-Old Boys Oroua Rugby Club hosted four home games and held after-match functions.
Shane Roger Whitten, 35, was assistant manager to the senior team, while his wife, Trudy May Whitten, 38, ran the club’s bar.
‘‘The bar is an essential part of a club’s operations. It’s what keeps clubs like this alive,’’ Judge Gerard Lynch said in the Feilding District Court yesterday.
During the four after-match functions, Trudy Whitten stole $1900 cash.
On other occasions, Shane Whitten would complete minor eftpos transactions for amounts between 10 cents and $1.
‘‘[Trudy Whitten] then took sums of money between $100 and $150 in cash and handed it to him.’’
This way the pair took a further $1900, making their total haul $3800.
After their prompt guilty pleas, the matter was remanded for restorative justice.
Judge Lynch said that meeting went well, ending in handshakes, and allowed the Whittens to apologise in person, but they wouldn’t be welcomed back.
They had since repaid $2000 and had an automatic payment for $100 a week to pay off the balance.
‘‘To say the club is disappointed in the two of you is a gross understatement,’’ the judge told the Whittens.
‘‘The club has taken this very hard.
‘‘Your family has had a long association with the club and you have tainted [that].’’
Club members felt ‘‘stabbed in the back’’ by what had happened.
‘‘A number of the members are going to find it hard to forgive you.’’
Judge Lynch said the club had changed the way it operated the bar, although it should be able to rely on the honesty of its members.
The Whittens were each sentenced to 180 hours’ community work, Shane Whitten on one charge of theft and Trudy Whitten on two theft charges.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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