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Caterer sentenced for theft at funeral reception

East Palo Alto man stole wallet while people grieved

An East Palo Alto man was sentenced to two years of incarceration Monday for stealing a wallet while working as a caterer with his girlfriend at a Belmont funeral reception last summer, prosecutors said Jan. 6.

Robert Spiva, 31, pleaded no contest last month to two counts of identity theft in a plea deal with prosecutors for no more than two years in prison, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Spiva will serve his prison term in county jail and has 301 days of credit for time served, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

His girlfriend, Paige Boswell, 22, pleaded no contest to one count on Dec. 5 and was sentenced that day to three years' probation and must enroll in a residential drug treatment program, according to prosecutors.

The couple stole a victim's wallet with credit cards and a checkbook while working as caterers during a funeral reception at a Belmont home on Aug. 2.

They charged items to the credit cards over the next week until police found the credit cards and other stolen items during a search of their East Palo Alto apartment on Aug. 8, prosecutors said.

Officers also found a box with debit cards and an insurance card stolen from a Woodside couple's mail weeks earlier. Both Spiva and Boswell were already on probation for an identity theft conviction in April 2013, prosecutors said.

"It's really despicable conduct; they specifically took advantage of the fact that people would be at the funeral," Wagstaffe said. "It certainly warrants the incarceration term that the judge has given."

— Bay City News Service

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