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Hidden camera catches Conception Bay South home care worker stealing from elderly client

A home care worker who was caught on hidden camera stealing money from her elderly client's wallet was sentenced in provincial court in St. John's Jan. 16.
A home care worker who was caught on hidden camera stealing money from her elderly client's wallet was sentenced in provincial court in St. John's Jan. 16. - 123RF

Elderly man's son urges others to beware; 'It could happen to anyone'

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A home care worker who was caught on hidden camera stealing money from her elderly client's wallet was sentenced in provincial court in St. John's Jan. 16.

The man from whom she stole, unfortunately, didn't get to see justice served, because he recently died, at age 87.

Sabrina Boudreau, 39, of C.B.S. was given a suspended sentence and 12 months probation after she pleaded guilty to charges of theft under $5,000, failure to appear in court and breach of a court order.

The man's family, who asked not to be named, say that sentence is fine by them, since the main thing they wanted was for Boudreau to have a criminal record so she wouldn't be able to pass a vulnerable-sector check.

"I didn't want her tending to other elderly people, doing the same thing," the man's son said in an interview with The Telegram.

The man said his father's longtime home care worker retired in October 2017, and Boudreau was her replacement, visiting the elderly man's home five times a week. Everything seemed fine for about three months, the man said, and then his father confided to family members that he believed he was missing money from his wallet.

"She lured him out, telling him his breakfast was ready, then she came and took the wallet and brought it into another room, where she helped herself." — Victim's son

His father preferred to keep his cash in his wallet, the man explained, receiving help from his children when it came to accounting and tracking his finances.

The man counted his father's cash and realized there was less in the wallet than there should have been.

He then set up a hidden camera.

Four days later, he went back to his father's home and found that about $130 was missing from the wallet. A look at the camera footage showed Boudreau taking the wallet from an end table and leaving the room, before returning about a minute later and placing it back on the same table.

"You could see her with the wallet in her hand," the man said. "You could hear the audio. She lured him out, telling him his breakfast was ready, then she came and took the wallet and brought it into another room, where she helped herself. He used to keep an elastic band around his wallet, and she even came back again and made sure the elastic band was just so."

The man confronted Boudreau the next time she came to work at his father's place, and told her that he knew what she had done.

"I told her to get off the property," the man said.

He said he didn't take the video to the police right away. His father was hesitant to make a report, fearing retaliation.

"He was flabbergasted," the man explained. "He was a bag of nerves."

According to a police report read in court Wednesday by Crown prosecutor Renee Coates, an RNC investigator visited Boudreau and told her that she was being charged.

"You stole stuff from (the elderly man)?" the officer asked her, to which she replied, "Yes."

"How many times?" the officer asked.

"Three," Boudreau said, adding she had taken the $130 as well as $100 on two previous occasions.

The elderly man's son said his family settled out of court with Boudreau's employer, but declined to provide details.

Coates argued for a sentence for Boudreau of three months' house arrest followed by probation, while Boudreau's lawyer argued for probation and a conditional discharge.

Judge David Orr gave Boudreau a suspended sentence, meaning she must abide by her probation conditions for a year or risk serving the remainder of the period in jail.

"If you have vulnerable elderly family members, beware, especially if they might be a little bit naive." — Victim's son

Orr noted Boudreau had preyed on a particularly vulnerable section of society by choosing to steal from an elderly person.

The victim's family members were in court to hear the sentencing verdict, and his son told The Telegram the court process had been a slow and frustrating one, enhanced by Boudreau's failure to show up as scheduled at one point. That's what earned her the failure to appear and court order breach charges.

Visiting his father in hospital in the months before he passed away, the man said, he had noticed many other elderly people, seemingly with less family support, and wondered whether they could find themselves in a situation like his father's.

"If you have vulnerable elderly family members, beware, especially if they might be a little bit naive," he said, when asked what message he might like to give to the public. "This could happen to anyone."

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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