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Mom Sent to Prison for Making Child Steal

June 13, 2006

LAKE HARMONY, Pa. (AP) _ A judge sentenced a woman to prison for making her 6-year-old daughter steal a volunteer fire company’s fundraising jar, a crime that netted the family $1.85.

Judith Weidner, 42, had told police she needed the change for gasoline, but in court she blamed a heroin addiction.

Judge David W. Addy sentenced Weidner on Monday to one to three years in prison for the January 2005 theft.

Security films show Weidner distracting a convenience store clerk while her daughter took a small fireman’s boot used to collect change for a volunteer fire company effort. The boot was later found in the trash at a car wash.

``What I did to her was wrong,″ Weidner said. ``I feel so bad about it.″

Public defender Paul J. Levy said Weidner, a mother of five from Tobyhanna Township in northeastern Pennsylvania, suffers from bipolar disorder and other mental-health problems. She pleaded guilty last year to corruption of minors and conspiracy to commit theft but failed to show for a November sentencing date. She was then arrested April 29.

Weidner’s attorney said her children are no longer in her custody.

``She has hit rock bottom,″ Levy said. ``I think knowing what she did got the better of her.″

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