Michael Rangi stole an 80-year-old woman’s purse when she was on a smoke break.
Michael Rangi stole an 80-year-old woman’s purse when she was on a smoke break.

Pokie pick pocket targets 80-year-old victim

A SNEAKY thief grabbed the purse of an 80-year-old grandmother named Shirley when she took a smoker’s break while playing the poker machines in a pub.

In his grubby act, convicted thief Michael Rangi also nicked the unsuspecting victim’s pension card.

He later claimed to police that he dumped the purse at a Woolworths store for it to be returned to Shirley.

Appearing before Ipswich Magistrates Court, Michael Temawai Rangi, 58, a disability pensioner from Woodend, pleaded guilty to stealing the senior citizen’s purse at Brassall on September 27 last year.

Prosecutor Sergeant Trent Voigt said the 80-year-old woman was playing the poker machines inside the Mi-Hi Tavern at Brassall that Sunday when she went to have a cigarette.

When she returned she realised someone had stolen her purse from inside her handbag.

The purse held the victim’s pension card and her two bankcards.

Sgt Voigt said CCTV clearly showed Rangi taking the purse and leaving the tavern in a vehicle.

Police checked its registration and later went to his home at Woodend.

“Officers recognised him as being the person on CCTV,” Sgt Voigt said.

“He says he’d taken the purse from the table. That he picked it up to see if she had any cash in it.

“He does maintain he handed the wallet into Woolworths. He accepts that it was not the appropriate thing to do.”

Defence lawyer Allana Davie said Rangi was aged 58 and a disability support pensioner.

“He says he has a lung disease as a result of smoking,” she said.

“There is no real explanation why it took so long to come before the court. He seeks a nil conviction.”

Ms Davie said Rangi did not use the elderly lady’s bankcards in any fraudulent type activity.

Magistrate Andy Cridland fined Rangi $300.

Mr Cridland did not record a conviction against him, however, he warned Rangi that this was not likely to happen again if he committed a similar crime.