Cash-strapped mums load up
TWO mum's feeling the economic pinch in their home budgets overloaded a Woolies trolley with goods then hauled it away without stopping to pay.
An Ipswich court this week heard the women and their overflowing cart full of household goods and a few luxury items were so conspicuous that they were quickly seen and chased by staff.
After security caught up with the women, goods worth $878 were recovered from the Woolworths trolley.
Appearing at Ipswich Magistrates Court, the apologetic Sharmyne Brown, 25, from Dinmore, and Jasmine Eve Ward, 25, from Inala, each pleaded guilty to stealing from Woolworths Booval on February 25.
The court heard they were both single parents, educated, and looking for employment.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Dave Shelton said the crime took place at 6.45pm when the women stole the goods and groceries at the Booval Fair shopping centre.
The women were confronted in the carpark by a female security officer who took photos of them.
They quickly abandoned the trolley and walked away.
Snr Const. Shelton the women were intercepted in a Ford Focus at 8pm that same night and taken to Booval police station.
CCTV showed the pair committing the offence, the court was told.
Defence barrister Terry Strong said Ward was a sole parent with no previous offences.
"They are friends and both were in significant financial stress with limited money coming into their households and paying rent," he said.
"Ms Brown was under extreme financial stress with children and school fees.
"They say they couldn't put adequate food on the table for their children and decided to load up with a trolley.
"It was not sophisticated when you leave with a trolley that full."
Magistrate David Shepherd said it was clearly a premeditated plan to take someone else's property.
Mr Strong argued that greater emphasis should be put on their reasons as the stealing was not done for lifestyle in what had been a difficult situation for both.
Brown told the magistrate she unsuccessfully rang six agencies for help before carrying out the offence.
"It was an irrational decision and I shouldn't have done it," she said.
Mr Shepherd noted that among the goods listed were some unnecessary items.
"I can understand how desperate circumstances can sometimes be felt by those who have to support young families," he said.
"It was a big shop. There was a lot of product; food, cleaning, personal hygiene, hair wash, dishwashing liquid and other items.
"It was as if a whole house was being fitted out for the first time.
"I do realise the idea was to share but there was much more than what would be needed in immediate circumstances."
"It is a shame that educated and intelligent women see the need to steal to support their families," he said.
"It was simply a load-up exercise. And serious with in excess of $850 in property taken."
Mr Shepherd said a jail term was not warranted and a good behaviour bond would not adequately reflect its seriousness.
He noted Brown had offended before. Both were fined $750 each.
A conviction was recorded against Brown with no conviction recorded against Ward.