TEACHER FACES PRISON OVER PETTY THEFT www.privateofficer.com


OCT. 12, 2007


Suzanne Haffamier, an English teacher at Calabasas High School, is facing up to three years in jail for shoplifting $15 worth of groceries from an Albertsons supermarket, authorities said.
Haffamier, 53, was arrested Oct. 1 at the grocery store on Lindero Canyon Road for allegedly stealing sushi, soda and a bottle of alcohol, said Detective Victor Paladino from Lost Hills Sheriff's Station.
The charge of "petty theft with a prior" elevates the shoplifting charge from an infraction or misdemeanor to a felony, Paladino said. A first offense for petty theft is usually charged as a misdemeanor when the value of the property stolen is between $50 and $400, according to legal experts. If the total value of stolen merchandise is less than $50, the perpetrator may be charged with an infraction.
Haffamier reportedly was convicted of petty theft once before. If Haffamier served at least one day in jail, the second offense is filed as a felony, Paladino said.
Details of Haffamier's first conviction were not available. Haffamier's attorney, Monique Hoffmayer, could not be reached for comment.
According to a criminal defense attorney not involved with the case, Haffamier faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison, although he believes that outcome is unlikely.
Paladino expects Haffamier will most likely face a stiff fine rather than jail time.
Jack Parham, an attorney representing the Las Virgenes Unified School District, said Haffamier has been placed on leave of absence from her teaching post until the legal matter is resolved.
Haffamier's preliminary hearing is scheduled at Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys on Oct. 16.
Haffamier also taught English and directed music productions at Agoura High School. She was the director of the West Valley Ballet Company for more than 20 years and was also a former member of the San Francisco Ballet.


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