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Necklace theft gets 3.5 years

A domestic helper from quake-hit Sichuan Province stole a gold necklace worth 6,246 yuan (US$914) from her employer by pretending to be an intruder carrying out a break-in.

Wang Yanzhen, 39, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years' jail in the Putuo District People's Court yesterday.

Wang came to the city last October and was hired as live-in help by Chen Aizhen, a 76-year-old woman who lived alone.

Wang told the court she saw Chen wearing the gold necklace when she helped the old woman take a bath.

She said her family was in urgent need of money because of losses suffered after the May 12 earthquake last year and because her son had been injured in a traffic accident.

Wang told the court she wrapped Chen's head in a towel. She put on rubber gloves and one of Chen's sweaters, turned off the lights, covered Chen's mouth with a towel and snatched the necklace.

"I dressed up to let Chen think somebody else had broken in to rob her," Wang told the court.

She then hid the necklace under a sofa cushion.

Chen cried out to Wang to call her son. He reported the "break-in" to the police.

But suspicious fell on Wang when police could find no evidence a third person had broken in. Wang admitted the theft after Chen's son found the necklace the next day.


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