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Manitoba home-care worker jailed for robbing elderly to fund cocaine habit

Police tape marks a crime scene in this file photo.

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

A former home-care worker has been sent to jail for stealing purses and wallets from several elderly people in western Manitoba to feed her cocaine addiction.

Debbie Ann Smith, 51, was sentenced this week on charges involving thefts in the Russell, Foxwarren and St. Lazare areas last summer, as well as some purse-snatchings in Brandon.

Court heard Smith would take personal belongings when the victims let her into their homes when she asked for directions and to use the washroom.

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She was arrested in late September and released on bail, but committed a number of purse-snatchings in Brandon between late November and early this January.

Smith told authorities when she was arrested that her hours at work had been cut and she couldn't afford the cocaine or her antidepressant medication.

Smith was given credit for time served following her arrest for the Russell-area thefts, but was given a year in jail for the purse-snatchings.

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