Bag thief ‘now drug free’

Josh Palmer (1284548).

Josh Palmer (1284548).

A FORMER Jindera man who stole an elderly woman’s handbag to pay off drug debts has been sentenced to 300 hours of community service work.

Josh Palmer, 18, appeared in Albury Local Court for sentencing on a charge of theft from a person after completing eight weeks of drug rehabilitation on June 27.

Magistrate Tony Murray said Palmer thought the victim, 82, was a soft target when he stole her bag on December 31 last year.

But two men who were nearby when the incident happened chased Palmer.

One ran after him on foot, but Palmer was significantly faster and managed to create considerable distance between himself and his pursuer.

Albury man Mark Kirk followed Palmer on his bicycle, stopped him as he was getting in a car and told him to retrieve the woman’s bag from where it was dumped a short distance away.

“They are very commendable actions as far as those two persons are concerned,” Mr Murray said.

He said Palmer has finally done something about his drug problem which was in his favour and prevented him from going to jail.

Solicitor Tim Hemsley said rehabilitation was a significant factor considering Palmer’s young age.

Mr Hemsley said Palmer is now living in Wagga, is employed and drug free.

The victim was standing at the corner of North Street and Park Avenue about 11.45am on December 31.

She was holding a black handbag which had her wallet, a number of cards including her bank card, her NSW driver’s licence, a small amount of cash, a set of keys and personal items.

Palmer grabbed the handbag and overpowered the woman, who released her grip.

A man who had been standing nearby chased after him and Mr Kirk followed on his bicycle after seeing what happened.

He chased Palmer into Smith Street and saw him getting into a car.

“Where is the bag. Hand it over. We have your number plate identification,” Mr Kirk said.

Palmer said he had dropped the bag at the corner and Mr Kirk told him: “You go and get the bag.”

It was retrieved by Palmer and handed over with police arriving a soon after.

Palmer was arrested, made admissions about the offence and said he thought it was an easy way to get cash to pay off some drug debts.