Mum stole credit card to buy Christmas presents for kids

'TIS the season for fraud and stealing.

A 36-year-old Rockhampton mother-of-four appeared in Rockhampton Magistrates court last week charged with one count each of fraud and stealing in the lead up to Christmas.

The court heard sometime between December 1 and 13 Natalie Ann Harkess stole a credit card and used it to buy Christmas gifts for her children.

The police prosecutor said on December 14 a man who was staying at the Comfort Inn Rockhampton reported a credit card, which he had left in his wallet in his hotel room, had been stolen and his records stated it had been used to purchase $64 worth of goods at Target.

Harkess, who was working as a housekeeper at the Comfort Inn Rockhampton at the time, gained access to the victim's room while she was working and subsequently stole the man's credit card.

Police sourced CCTV footage of Harkess using the credit card at Target.

In a police interview Harkess claimed she found the victim's wallet containing the credit card outside the hotel room but denied using it at Target.

But when police showed her the CCTV footage she admitted she used the card to buy Christmas presents for her children.

The court heard Harkess paid the price for committing the offence by losing her job.

Magistrate Cameron Press recorded a conviction and fined Harkess $700.

Despite the victim not seeking restitution, Harkess also offered and was ordered to pay $64 restitution.

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