Vietnam court sentences burglar who stole $476,000 to life

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Dang Ngoc Tan (right), who burgled US$476,000 from dozens of houses in Da Nang, in court with his accomplice and wife. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

A court in the central city of Da Nang Monday sentenced a burglar who stole properties worth US$476,000 to life in jail, while his two accomplices, both relatives, got terms of up to 14 years.

The court accepted the prosecution's charges that Dang Ngoc Tan was the mastermind of what was a serious crime and also failed to show contrition.

It sentenced his wife Nguyen Bach Duong to seven years for using illegally-acquired assets.

Tan's brother-in-law Nguyen Huu Phuoc, who usually acted as the lookout during the burglaries, got 14 years for robbery.

It was his first crime and he expressed remorse.

Prosecutors sought eight to 10 years for Duong, but the court considered the fact that her family contributed during the war and her father was disabled by Agent Orange.

Tan burgled 36 houses between 2008 and 2011, taking away gold, cash, and electronic goods worth nearly VND10.4 billion ($476,000 ).

Vietnam's 2012 annual per capita income was $1,555.

He also broke into nine other houses but could not find anything valuable. 

Phuoc got more than 1 percent of the booty.

Tan would choose houses in deserted areas so that he could escape easily.

He spent the stolen money on his and his wife's personal needs, including lands and a house in the city, and a car.

The court also ordered Tan and Phuoc to return the stolen money.

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