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'Rogue' may die in jail

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 12:00 22/05/2014

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A terminally ill man who went on a shopping spree after stealing his elderly neighbour's credit card may now die in jail, the New Plymouth District Court has heard.

The sentencing judge described Glen Joseph Thomas as "a rogue of the first order".

While his lawyer pleaded for Thomas, who is in his 60s, to be allowed to remain in the community so he could continue chemodialysis, for his renal and heart failure, the judge was unmoved.

Thomas had a shocking history of dishonesty, Judge Allan Roberts said.

Thomas' defence counsel Eleanor Connole said he was terminally ill and had four heart attacks in recent weeks.

He had told his presentence report writer that for once in his life he had money to spend, she said.

Judge Allan Roberts remarked, "Someone else's money."

"Yes, sir,"  Connole agreed. 

Thomas pleaded guilty to using the 71-year-old neighbour's credit card seven times and burglary.

On February 14 he had gone into the neighbour's unit when he was out and stole his satchel which had the credit card in it.

Thomas then rang his neighbour and told him he was a police officer, that the satchel had been found along with his credit card and asked for his PIN number.

The elderly man fell for the ruse and told him the PIN number.

With that Thomas headed off to the shops.

In the next four days he fleeced his victim of $4198.40, buying a TV, washing machine, fridge, alcohol and drugs.

In sentencing, the judge said Thomas' victim felt violated.

He had helped him in the past allowing him to use his phone.

Thomas had convictions for 51 acts of dishonesty and had been in prison 42 times.

The most recent offending was in July last year when he was given a final warning.

"That lasted six months," the judge said.

Thomas was "a cunning and deceitful old man" who had no remorse for what he did to his "easy target", the judge said.

Treatment for Thomas' medical issues which he needed dialysis three days a week could be received while Thomas was in prison, the judge said.

In total, Thomas was given 18 months jail and ordered to repay the $4000.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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