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BEDFORD, Pennsylvania – Fifty-six-year-old Evelyn Border and her 35-year-old daughter, Tina Griekspoor, stole two Wal-mart gift cards from a 9-year-old girl who had set them down while an employee helped her.

One was for $50, the other for $30. They then attempted to use them twice before being caught. Their punishment for their crime? They had to stand outside the courthouse for 4 1/2 hours Tuesday each holding signs that read: “I stole from a 9-year-old girl on her birthday! Don’t steal or this could happen to you!

Because they did this, Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins says he’ll ask for probation instead of jail when they plead guilty to the theft.

I know some people are out there right now spouting that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. That humiliation is cruel and unusual and that these people were obviously desperate. I say so fucking what? A lot of people on hard times right now not out stealing from other people. Besides, I think a bit of public shaming goes a long way and is a much better deterrent than 30 days in jail or some probation.

Assistant District Attorney Travis W. Livengood, is the one who suggested the punishment. “Such shameful conduct deserves to be met by equally shameful punishment,” he said.

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I like what Livengood is selling. But then again, if I had it my way – downtown streets would still have stockades full of petty criminals with buckets of soft, squishy tomatoes for law-abiding citizens to toss. Besides, it keeps the jails and prisons full of people who deserve to be there.

Border says she knows what they did was a mistake and that she agreed to the sign holding because it meant she would avoid jail. She didn’t have the money to fight it anyway she says. Griekspoor (ironic) added “I have a family I’m supporting. My husband is laid off.

Since having a family with a laid of husband does not get you out of having to pay for getting caught stealing, I think this punishment is perfect. Throwing her in jail would just compound the problem.  Anyway, the mother of the little girl said she planned on driving her daughter by the two women so that she can see what happens to people who take things that do not belong to them.

So, what do you think? Does the punishment fit the crime?

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