Cumberland Times-News


November 3, 2009

Pennsylvania thieves dealt public punishment

Bedford mother, daughter stole 9-year-old’s gift card as she shopped on her birthday

BEDFORD, Pa. — Two Bedford women who stole a 9-year-old girl’s gift card on her birthday publicized the matter Tuesday as part of Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins’ public punishment initiative.

Fifty-six-year-old Evelyn Border and her daughter, Tina Griekspoor, 35, stood outside the Bedford County Courthouse displaying signs as part of a plea agreement. Higgins said he will ask the court to impose a sentence of probation instead of a jail sentence. The women displayed the signs for 4 1/2 hours after being charged with theft.

Higgins said the women stole the child’s gift card that she had set on a shelf at a Walmart store in Everett while an employee assisted her April 26.

The women used the card to pay for their own items. They also returned to the store days later and attempted to use the card again.

The public punishment initiative was suggested by Assistant District Attorney Travis Livengood, who saw the necessity for a special kind of punishment to combat disgraceful criminal behavior such as stealing from a little girl on her birthday.

“I told their defense attorney they had two options. Plead guilty and leave sentencing open to the judge where I would ask for substantial jail time, or serve their public punishment prior to their guilty plea and the commonwealth (Pennsylvania) would agree to probation. Such shameful conduct deserves to be met by equally shameful punishment,” said Livengood.

Higgins said the public punishment was accepted as part of a plea agreement. “Be it a sign around a thief’s neck, a public apology in the town square from a domestic abuser to their spouse, or cleaning out the animal cages at the humane society once a week, it is time that the blame and shame be focused exactly where it should be — upon the criminal,” said Higgins.

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