Rich Old Woman Pick-Pockets Chinese People Because She Hates Them

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The New York Post has the sort-of Robin Hood story today of Ha Vasko, a rich 67-year-old Vietnamese woman arrested in Chinatown four times for pick-pocketing. "I hate Chinese people," she explained to the police. "They sell fake stuff, take the money, and send the money back home," she went on, in an effort to justify the money she steals. "They get benefit cards and they don't contribute anything back. So I take their money and give it to people who need it. I give it to homeless people who need it." If not for the racism, this could almost be adorable. Why couldn't she have said she hates tourists?

Instead, it's just bizarre. Vasko is quoted as saying, "I have money," and even owns a $400,000 home in Florida. "I don't need the money that I take. I give it all away."

Back in June, she was caught stealing $500 from a fanny pack and was found with $2,500 "in crumpled bills in various denominations and various pockets." When she flew back to New York from Florida for her court date, she was caught pulling the same stunt. The Manhattan DA's crime strategies unit, which goes after serial offenders, took notice.

"I have a flight to catch," she told an officer trying to arrest her. "I'll give you all the money in my wallet, which is over $1,000, or I can write you a check if you let me go," and so she was charged with bribery, too.

Her lawyer says she's just a kleptomaniac, but her husband must be so embarrassed.

Well-heeled Florida retiree is a compulsive Chinatown pickpocket: DA [NYP]


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