Although only a small percentage of people have an addiction to slot machines, those that do can behave in an extreme manner to finance their addiction. Joseph Jennings, a 29 year old citizen of the United Kingdom, recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced in court for stealing his father’s stamp collection.
His father, Peter Jennings, was well known for having been the press secretary for the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, but he was also known in the world of stamp collecting for having an impressive collection with many rare stamps. Upon his death, the collection was passed to his wife. His son, Joseph Jennings, stole these stamps from his mother and sold them to collectors, so he could play his favorite slot machine. According to Jennings’ attorney, all of the money was spent playing the same fruit machine.
He did not steal the entire stamp collection, but stole a large portion of it in small amounts over time. The total amount received during this time period was approximately £14,000, but investigators say that this was much less than the stamps were worth. Getting the best price for the stamps was obviously not his motivation.
Jennings’s mother was in no way motivated to sell the collection at this time as it was a source of pride to her and other members of the family. She did plan to use it in the future to help her finances in retirement. Authorities have been able to recover three-fourths of the collection to date.
The judge understood that the offence was not a onetime action, but one that was consistent with someone having a compulsive disorder combined with an addiction to gambling. Although he considered a strong sentence, he took into account the desires of Jennings’ family, especially his mother.
Jennings will not be spending any time in jail for his action because of a guilty plea and his mother’s request for leniency. He will, however, be required to spend 150 hours of community service over a two year period for which he will not be compensated.