Dreama Vancamp, 27, of 100 North Bridge Street Lot 12, New Martinsville, was sentenced Friday to one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women for the felony offense of grand larceny.
On Nov. 8, Vancamp admitted that when working as a housecleaner she stole the victim's wedding ring, engagement ring, late mother's rings, and cocktail ring, with a total value of $8,889. However, Vancamp took the stolen rings to a local business and sold them for scrap for $377.
On the day of her sentencing Vancamp stated she wanted to say to the victim that she was sorry. "As far as restitution goes, I'm willing to work three jobs, whatever it takes to make restitution.
"Your honor, Ms. Vancamp has spent 50 days incarcerated as a result of these charges," Attorney Patricia Kurelac stated. Kurelac claimed Vancamp's risk assessment (part of the pre-sentencing report created by Chief Probation Officer John D. Lantz) stated that Vancamp was at a low risk when it came to criminal history.
"There's a harassment charge from 2012," Kurelac said. "She did a very stupid thing." Furthermore, Kurelac said Vancamp had a "serious pill and heroin addiction at the time."
However, Kurelac said Vancamp's grand larceny offense was not drug related. "She did purchase clothes with the money, the very little that came from these rings."
Kurelac said Vancamp is "nervous, tearful, and sick over all of this . . . She did not want to hurt the victim in this case; it was never her intention."
"She's been trying to get a job . . . She's trying to put her life back together. She wants that chance. She realizes she could be punished for what she did, but she wants the court to consider, if further incarceration is warranted, that some of it is served by home incarceration." She added, "She really does want to get however many jobs it takes . . . Every dime would go toward restitution . . ."
Kurelac added: "She would like the opportunity to go through drug court. She's never had any type of drug rehab or counseling. She's been to Narcotics Anonymous. It probably kept her from returning to heroin, but whatever she needs to do to make this right, she wants to be able to do it."
"Your honor, first I would address the issue of the LSCMI, which I have reviewed and I know the court has," stated Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught when he was given the opportunity to argue sentencing.
"The outcome of the LSCMI evaluation is that she is a high-risk for re-offending, so based upon the fact that she is a high risk, I don't believe probation or alternative sentencing is appropriate in this case," Haught stated.
"Moving on to the fact of this particular case . . . I find it to be particularly offensive and egregious in nature."
He further explained: "When we think of grand larceny, we think of stealing property or money over $1,000. This is offensive because the victim was 85 years old, and Ms. Vancamp was hired to clean her home.
"The sentimental value of those rings is what makes this so offensive and egregious to the state of West Virginia . . . These rings were her wedding rings and engagement ring, late mother's wedding ring, and a cocktail ring."
Haught continued: "The victim has said these rings are irreplaceable. They have great sentimental value. Her family has suffered because of the loss of those rings. They were sold as scrap for less than $400.
"The victim in this case has been violated by Ms. Vancamp's actions, and to say she didn't intend to hurt the victim? I can't believe that particular statement because you knew you were stealing an 85-year-old woman's rings . . . A normal person would know those are of great sentimental value. To say, 'I didn't intend to hurt her.' What are you talking about? You stole her wedding rings. You stole her engagement rings, her late mother's ring, and then you sold them as scrap, to be melted down."
"If this was a case where this was money, I wouldn't be so offended," Haught stated. "This case cries out for incarceration, not just to deter this defendant but to make people in the community realize there are consequences of what they do."
Haught added that the victim could not be there in court that day to offer a statement because of her age and physical condition "and emotional condition." Haught said the situation has been "devastating for her, and this defendant needs to know and understand the consequences of what she did . . . Obviously she didn't realize that, and society needs to know that . . ."
Attorney Kurelac stated she had discussed restitution with Vancamp. "Although I wanted to argue on her behalf regarding amount, she is absolutely prepared to take whatever the court said, even though it's money and can't replace the sentimental value."
Kurelac added: "She's never fought anything in this case.
Judge David Hummel sentenced Vancamp to one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women, as well as ordered that she pay $10,000 in restitution. Hummel described Vancamp's actions as "downright despicable, quite frankly."
He also stated that he wouldn't hear of her stating she had not had counseling, as he knew she had had the opportunity for counseling before.
"You didn't go to clean her house . . . you cleaned her house out," the judge stated.