Pram, baby used to steal from Bay shops

A HERVEY Bay mother of two has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $300 worth of groceries using a pram, and stealing a blanket from Target using a baby.

Eden Maree Wheatley, now 25, appeared in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday, facing two charges of stealing.

Police prosecutor Sonia Edwards said in December last year, Wheatley put a number of items on lay-by at Target in Stockland before stealing a baby blanket.

"[Wheatley] wrapped a baby in the blanket and walked out without paying," Snr Const Edwards said.

Wheatley also faced court for another incident of stealing, this time at Coles in Hervey Bay.

The court heard Wheatley put more than $300 worth of food in shopping bags, before placing them in a pram and leaving the shop without paying.

Wheatley's defence lawyer Michael Riedel said his client was single at the time of the offences, and committed them "out of need, rather than greed".

"At the time of the first offence [at Target] my client was heavily pregnant... I'm instructed she tried to receive assistance from a charity, but was unsuccessful," Mr Riedel said.

"[Wheatley] went on to steal the food items, which I understand was mostly baby food."

The court heard Wheatley was on a suspended sentence during the time of both offences.

Magistrate Stephen Guttridge said the mother-of-two could not keep using the excuse of having small children as a defence.

Wheatley was sentenced to 12 months' probation for the two stealing charges.

The woman's suspended sentence was extended by six months.

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