A woman who broke into her neighbour’s house, stole jewellery, and pawned it then made a false report of a burglary to police to try to cover her tracks, a court has heard.
Anne Matwychuk smashed her way through a rear window of her friend’s property when the victim was at work and took her jewellery box.
After pawning the goods she then called the victim at her place of employment to report that somebody had broken into her home.
Sending Matwychuk to prison, a judge described it as a “mean” burglary committed against somebody who had shown kindness to the offender in the past.
Swansea Crown Court heard the victim of the burglary left home in the Townhill area of the city early on the morning of May 14 to go to work.
After she left, Matwychuk used a brick to smash her way into her house, stealing items including a Kindle e-reader, iPad, and Euro notes from a cupboard, and taking a jewellery box from a bedroom.
Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said by 10.30am the defendant was in the city centre where she visited Tilleys pawnbrokers looking to sell the jewellery.
The court heard that after seeing expensive items such as gold wedding bands among the items, staff challenged her about where they had come from. She said the rings had belonged to her grandmother.
After producing ID to prove her identity, 40-year-old Matwychuk – who was described as being “relaxed and smiling” – was given £700 cash for the jewellery.
The defendant then returned home and called the victim, telling her it appeared there had been a problem at her house.
When the victim returned home she found her house had been burgled. She was greeted by her neighbour who said she too had been burgled, claiming her garden shed had been broken into and items taken. Matwychuk subsequently made a report to that effect to the police.
Mr Pulling said the jewellery taken from the victim contained items given to her by her now deceased mother and grandmother, and were “irreplaceable”.
He said she made a list of the missing items and went to pawn brokers in the city in the hope of recovering some of them. Tilleys staff recognised the descriptions as those sold by the defendant, and put the pieces to one side.
The court heard Matwychuk was arrested after returning to the pawnbrokers four weeks later to sell more of the jewellery. Staff recognised her, took the jewellery off her and alerted the police.
The prosecutor said when interviewed by officers the defendant “concocted” a story about the burglary being committed by a visitor called “Tony from Liverpool” who had asked her to sell the jewellery for her.
The court heard not all of the stolen jewellery has been recovered.
Matwychuk, of Bryn y Clochydd, Townhill, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to burglary when she appeared in the dock for sentencing.
She has previous convictions for driving under the influence of drugs and possession of crack cocaine.
Steve Burnell, for Matwychuk, said the defendant felt “remorse and shame” for what she had done, and was now taking steps to tackle her drug issues.
Judge Huw Rees said the defendant she had known the victim for a number of years as neighbours, and knew the jewellery she took contained “cherished” family items.
He said the victim had shown Matwychuk kindness in the past in giving her money when she was short, and he described the burglary as “mean” and “planned, calculated, and thoroughly thought-out”.
Giving the defendant a 25% discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced her to 18 months in prison. Matwychuk will serve half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.