Jakarta – A 31-year-old woman in Tandun district, Rokan Hulu regency, Riau was sentenced to seven days in jail and a two-month probation period after having been found guilty of stealing palm fruits to feed her family.
The mother of three – identified only as RMS – was charged under Article 364 of the Criminal Code on minor offenses, also known as tipiring, during a trial held at the Pasir Pengaraian District Court on Tuesday.
"The ruling is [not yet legally binding] unless the court gives an official verdict for another crime that takes place within the two-month probation period," said Raharjo Budi Kisnanto, the assistant for intelligence at the Riau Prosecutors Office, as quoted by kompas.com.
Three bunches of palm fruits previously submitted as court evidence have since been returned to state-owned plantation PTPN V Sei Rokan, he said.
The palm plantation had only recorded Rp 76,500 (US$5.39) in losses due to the theft, he added.
A security officer working for the palm plantation previously saw RMS and two other women during a regular patrol in the area, Rokan Hulu Police spokesperson Second Insp. Ferry Fadly testified in a hearing.
"The witness then stalked [the women] and found that they were trying to take the company's palm fruits," Ferry said.
He went on to say that the security officer then went after the women and only managed to secure RMS. Another company employee, Arison Simbolon, later reported the case to the Tandun Police, he added.
RMS told the police that she had no other choice but to sell the palm fruits and buy rice to feed her three young children because she had run out of food supplies, Ferry said.
"But that's only the perpetrator's excuse. Seeing as how the perpetrator carried a sickle, it means that she had come prepared. She was caught red-handed while trying to steal three bunches of palm fruits," he said. (rfa)