Theft causes widower grief

A YOUNG mum, who found a sim card and used it in her mobile phone for three months, was prosecuted in Gympie Magistrates Court this week after chalking up a big bill for an elderly man who hadn’t realised his phone was missing.

Alisha Maree Hughes, 23, was charged with stealing and fraud after police intelligence conducted a reverse call charge to locate the mobile phone used to make more than $1000 worth of calls.

The 79-year-old widower discovered his mobile phone was missing when he received a bill for $180 in May. He had been on a $36 per month plan and hadn’t used it, so he called Telstra.

A police prosecutor told the court Telstra was no help and in the following two months the man received two more bills that brought the total amount to $1150.

In Hughes’ defence, lawyer Greg Wildie said his client had found the sim card. “She’s a single mum with a low income... There was the availability of phone credit and she couldn’t resist temptation,” he said.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told the court Hughes had committed a similar offence four years ago.

“You probably thought it was your lucky day,” she said. “(But) an elderly man probably fretted non-stop over this.”

Hughes, of Fern Street, Gympie, said she knew she was going to get in trouble.

She was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and was given two years to pay back the money owed.

Gympie Times

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