One of two Whangarei women who befriended an elderly woman suffering from dementia, took her money card and went on a $2059 spending spree has been sent to jail.

A plea for home detention for Charlene Patangata, 45, was rejected yesterday in the Whangarei District Court where she appeared for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty to a swag of charges.

Her co-offender Rangi Tamati did not turn up and will be sentenced at a date yet to be confirmed.

The duo went to the elderly woman's home on April 3 this year and asked for money.
Tamati had her 1-year-old daughter with her.


The elderly woman showed kindness and compassion and went with the duo to a service station in Kamo and withdrew $202.50, which she gifted to Tamati to help with petrol costs.

Patangata had seen the woman punching in the security numbers for the card. Then 13 days later Tamati returned to the woman's house under the guise of thanking her.

Patangata asked to use the toilet and while in the house slipped into the bedroom and took the woman's wallet. She enjoyed a cup of tea before leaving to go on a spending spree with Tamati.

In less than 30 minutes they had used the card to buy food, petrol, cigarettes and withdraw cash.

They withdrew $1600 cash from at ATM at Whau Valley, and tried to withdraw more cash, but were declined. They then went to Kensington Pharmacy and bought a comb and withdrew $150 cash. A stop at Z service station saw them swipe the card again for $196 worth of petrol, cigarettes and oil.

Both admitted to 11 charges of taking a bank card for pecuniary advantage.

Judge Murray Hunt said it was "despicable" for Patangata to take advantage of a vulnerable and elderly woman's generosity.

"The fact the amount of money stolen was not a lot is not the issue. She thought you were nice and smiling until she realised her credit card had been stolen," he said.

Patangata's lawyer Wiremu Puriri said a term of imprisonment was not justified despite the fact the victim was an elderly woman and that the amount stolen was less than $3000.

If home detention was not rejected, he urged Judge Hunt to allow her leave to apply for that sentence from prison.

But the judge said Patangata's actions could not be marked by a sentence of home detention. He jailed her for 14 months and ordered that she pay reparation of $1029.

Judge Hunt did not grant her leave to apply for home detention from prison.