Kansas woman gets two days in prison for stealing lawyer's wallet from courtroom

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Stealing a wallet in a courtroom is a dumb idea.
  • Stealing a wallet in a courtroom is a dumb idea.
Criminal pro tip: If you're going to steal somebody's wallet and use their credit cards to totally splurge at Kmart, make sure your victim isn't a defense attorney and that the scene of the crime isn't a courtroom. Theresa Quest, 51, of Leavenworth, could have used this advice. Quest pleaded guilty last month to charges of theft and criminal use of a financial card after she swiped the wallet of defense attorney Michael Mogenson in the courtroom while Mogenson was defending his client in the middle of a trial. Today she was sentenced to two days in the slammer and probation.

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd G. Thompson said in an e-mail release today that Quest was in the courtroom in March to support her friend, John Baskas Jr., who was standing trial on charges of assaulting a law-enforcement officer and selling pot. During the third day of the trial, Quest reached into Mogenson's briefcase and nabbed the wallet.

Police in the courtroom began looking for the wallet after the attorney noticed it was missing, but Quest had already absconded with it. An investigation later showed that Quest used Mogenseon's credit card to buy gas at a Casey's General Store. She then spent about $350 on merchandise at an area Kmart. After the spending spree, she ditched the evidence on the side of the street. She was soon busted because security footage from the courtroom showed her take the wallet.

Because Quest didn't have a previous criminal record, she normally would have just received probation for the theft. But Judge Gunnar Sundby didn't look too kindly on Quest's robbing an attorney while he was in the middle of a trial, and he added two days in jail to the sentence. To save herself some embarrassment and teasing, Quest would probably be smart to lie when her fellow inmates ask her, "So, what are you in for?"

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