20 shoplifters nabbed for the first time in Rocky crackdown
SELF-serve checkout machines were a common theme among about 20 people who faced court last week for stealing after a police operation to crackdown on shoplifting in the region.
The other themes among those in court as a result of this operation was that most had no criminal records, they were mostly busted leaving Coles but they had also been shoplifting from other stores, and many of the stolen items were hiding in handbags or other reusable bags.
Magistrate Jeff Clarke said there were 10 that went through his courtroom on Wednesday.
"Theft from grocery stores in Rockhampton seems to be particularly prevalent,” he said.
The Morning Bulletin was in court Thursday and Friday when more offenders were convicted for shoplifting as a result of the operation.
Three 21-year-old women pleaded guilty to three stealing counts each on Friday in Rockhampton Magistrates Court after being busted in a shoplifting spree together.
Bree-Anna Marie Crawford, Clair Maree Dern and Loghan Najamelle Rose Tane were represented by duty lawyer Grant Cagney.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Shaun Janes said the trio were apprehended 20m from Coles in Stockland Rockhampton about 4pm on December 13.
"It was a collective effort,” he said.
Sgt Janes said they had been observed going through Coles with a trolley containing two large reusable bags and placing various items in those bags, their handbags and a bag under a wheelchair.
He said the trio didn't pay for any of the items and when police searched them, they found they had taken 44 items worth $336.75 from Coles, six items worth $134.74 from Cotton On and a scarf from Sportsgirl.
Only $7.23 restitution for perishable items from Coles was requested by police.
Mr Cagney said Dern had a two-year-old child she shared custody with the child's father.
He said the child was with their father when she was apprehended.
Mr Cagney said Tane, who normally works as a barista in Brisbane, was home for the holidays and had broken her ankle and required a wheelchair at the time.
"She still has a moon boot on,” he said.
Mr Cagney said Tane is about to start an Environmental Science degree at the University of Queensland.
He said Crawford, who was employed in reception at a Rockhampton motel, was re-thinking her choice in careers.
"Each of you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves,” Mr Clarke said.
He fined each of them $750 and ordered no convictions be recorded.
Merle Joyce Ham stole several food items from Coles at City Centre Plaza on December 12. She had placed several in her handbag and paid for some when she went through the self-serve checkout. She was fined $450 and a conviction was recorded.
Christine Harris had $1500 cash in her handbag along with stolen items from Coles City Centre Plaza, Toyworld and Bunnings when police searched her on December 12. She was fined $900, ordered to pay $28.90 restitution for the groceries from Coles and convictions were recorded.
Eleanor Fay Wooler, 52, stole $39.95 of groceries from Coles on December 13 about 2.15pm. Police prosecutor Clancy Fox said she entered the store with a trolley containing bags with items bought at other stores. He said officers watched as Wooler placed items in the trolley and some inside the other bags as she shopped. She then went through the self-service checkout and only paid for some items. Wooler, who is a full-time carer of her disabled 18-year-old daughter, was fined $150 and ordered to pay restitution. No conviction was recorded.
Patricia Lorraine Hunt, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing. She entered Coles in North Rockhampton at 4pm on December 13, placed items in a trolley and some in her handbag. Hunt went through the self-service checkout and paid for the items in the trolley, but not the ones in her handbag. Police found two stolen smoke alarms and pharmaceutical items in her handbag worth $265.45. Hunt told them the pharmaceutical items were for her parents who needed them. Defence lawyer Grant Cagney said Hunt, who had no criminal history, had stopped taking her anti-depressant medication after losing a friend to breast cancer. She was fined $300 and no conviction was recorded.
Janelle Elizabeth Manns, 30, pleaded guilty to four stealing charges. She was charged after a stealing spree between 9am and 1pm on December 13, taking items from Big W ($160), Kmart ($71), Best and Less ($48) and Coles ($234.65). Police prosecutor Clancy Fox said Manns made admissions to police and even separated the items into piles according to the store she stole them from. Manns was fined $400, to pay restitution for all the items and no conviction was recorded.
Samantha Amanda Rebecca Wooler, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing. She was charged after stealing $39.95 of items from Coles at Stocklands about 2.15pm on December 13. She was fined $150, ordered to pay restitution and no conviction was recorded.
Amelia Jayde Hansen, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing. She was charged after forgetting to pay for two candles worth $6 she had placed in her baby's pram basket but had paid for all other grocery items she and her family had gathered in the shop. Hansen was placed on a good behaviour bond with recognisance of $100, ordered to pay restitution and no conviction was recorded.