Purse theft leads to jail time

Published 9:09 am Monday, October 19, 2015

A Dowagiac woman caught on camera stealing from her co-worker’s purse is facing the next few months in jail.

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced 26-year-old Rebecca Rae Pletz to 180 days in jail Friday morning during her appearance in Cass County court, on a single charge of attempted larceny in a building. Pletz pleaded guilty to the charge during an appearance in court on Sept. 14.

According to the judge, Pletz’s arrest stems from an incident that occurred on June 18, while working at the Dowagiac McDonald’s fast food restaurant, located on Spruce Street.

At one point during her shift, the Dowagiac woman stole a wallet from inside the purse of one of her co-workers, Brianna Tucker, which the latter later discovered was missing.

“When they checked the video surveillance, it certainly caught you red handed,” Dodge said. “They saw you on the video surveillance stealing the wallet from her purse.”

The victim is asking for $52 restitution from the theft, which includes not only cash taken, but also the value of the wallet itself and the permits and IDs contained within it, Dodge said. Tucker was also forced to place a fraud hold on her social security number.

“She’s pointed out in her victim impact statement the inconvenience and possible identity theft that was caused by your actions has created some pretty significant difficulties for her, probably much worse that just the loss of the money or the wallet herself,” he said.

Pletz was charged as a habitual offender, as she has a prior record consisting of five felonies and seven misdemeanors, the judge said. She committed the offense while serving a five-year probation sentence in Berrien County for making several false bomb threats to her former employer.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz noted that 10 of Pletz’s prior convictions were related to theft. He asked the judge to impose a significant term of incarceration, due to the impact on the victim and to deter others from attempting similar actions, he said.

“If you steal, there are consequences,” Fitz said.

Pletz’s attorney, Robert Drake, acknowledged the woman’s track record of repeated thefts, but said they were the result of a compulsion or mania and not greed, he said.

“She knows what she is doing is wrong, but she can’t stop herself from doing it,” Drake said.

Pletz told the judge that she was not taking any medication to treat her issues at the time of the crime, and apologized for her actions.

Given her probation violation and prior record, the judge decided to give Pletz a straight jail sentence as recommended by the state department of corrections, he said.

“I would hope, if nothing else, it will convince you how important it is to continue taking your medication,” Dodge said.

Pletz was given credit for 61 days already served. Due to her pending charge in Berrien County, can also serve the jail time in any correctional facility.

Also sentenced Friday:

• Greta Marie Pollock, 57, of Cassopolis, to 18 months of probation for marijuana related charges.

• Phillip Mark Carter, 28, of Niles, to 18 months of probation of possession of analogues.

• Jack Eugene Goff, 54, of Cassopolis, to 18 months of probation for resisting and obstructing a police officer.

• Danny Ray Williams, 40, of Cassopolis, to 18 months of probation and 90 days in jail for assault with a dangerous weapon.

• Elmer Lee Moore, 43, to 365 days in jail for failure to register as a sex offender.

• Angel Flores III, 35, of South Bend, to two years of probation for uttering and publishing.