Pregnant thief reported for 30 offences avoids prison

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The thief, aged 36, of Bosnian origin, and with a surname (Hrustic) that links her to a Roma family famous in the Roman underworld, was pregnant. For this reason (referred to in an order for “deferment of sentence” dated 22 October 2018), she was confident she had nothing to fear from the law, despite there being an “order of imprisonment” in her name. In theory, any policeman or carabiniere who checks her documents on the street and ascertains her identity, should immediately escort her to prison to serve a nine-year sentence, as established by the Court of Milan and confirmed by the Supreme Court. But as a pregnant, and thus free woman, she was in the metro just before 2.50pm on Sunday, just like every other day. She approached a girl who was talking on her mobile while waiting for a train on the platform of Cadorna station. When the girl put the phone back in her bag, she realized that her purse was missing; she then saw the pregnant woman who had been standing next to her hurry away and hand something over to a group of accomplices. The victim of the robbery followed the woman through the station, then onto a train, before calling the carabinieri. With the help of some other passengers, she prevented her escape until officers arrived at Garibaldi station, where the pickpocket was arrested.

In the following hours they established her identity and checked her criminal record, which was recounted last week in a Corriere feature. The carabinieri took her to the station, where they reconstructed her entire criminal history, comprising at least thirty arrests and charges for thefts and pick-pocketing, with all the trials that followed, resulting in a “accumulated sentence” totalling nine years.

On Sunday afternoon, however, two levels of justice came into conflict. On one hand, the pickpocket had been caught red-handed, allowing the duty magistrate to bring her before the court for summary judgment, despite the woman’s delaying tactic of asking to be taken to hospital (where doctors found her to be in good health). It was hoped that it would at least be possible to limit the daily presence of Bosnian Roma pickpockets on metro trains and in stations. It was however decided not to keep the woman in custody, although the report against her remains on file.

On the other, there is a sentence to be served, and judges have already ruled that the pickpocket will not go to jail until 21 June at the earliest, precisely because she is pregnant. Last week the Corriere told similar stories of two other pickpockets from the same “group”, one of whom (with the same surname as the woman arrested on Sunday) is set to serve a sentence of 14 years. She was arrested or questioned in Milan three times between 2015 and 2018, but never served her sentence because on each occasion she was pregnant.

12 febbraio 2019 (modifica il 12 febbraio 2019 | 18:01)

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