When elderly residents at Lansdowne Retirement Village had money stolen from their rooms, management installed a surveillance camera and planted two marked $10 notes in one resident's chest of drawers, which caregiver Leanne Miri Hague stole.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared before Judge Geoffrey Ellis in Masterton District Court recently .
Prosecutor Sergeant Garry Wilson said in the few months before Hague was arrested, elderly residents at the retirement village had had money stolen from their rooms.
As a result management set up a sting to catch anyone stealing from residents.
"Management placed a camera in a resident's room along with two $10 notes which had serial numbers recorded on them."
About 5.45pm on October 31, Hague was working at the village as a caregiver. After helping one of the men in her care into the bathroom, she rifled through his drawers as she waited, stealing the marked notes, Mr Wilson told the court.
When spoken to by police, Hague said she needed the money to go to Wellington Hospital.
"Her actions were caught on security cameras and when spoken to about the incident she admitted to taking the money," he said.
Defence lawyer Virginia Pearson said her client was remorseful. She said Hague had "extensive health issues" requiring regular medical care so wasn't able to complete community work.
Judge Ellis said Hague had already in effect been punished by her own behaviour as she had lost her job and would find it difficult to get another one as a caregiver in the future.
"You have blotted your record. It will be difficult for a future employer to trust you. That is quite a serious cross around your own neck."
The judge convicted Hague of theft and discharged her without further penalty.