Shopaholic mum busted 32 times
UNPAID-for cosmetics and groceries were found stashed in the trolley of Ipswich mum and thrifty shopper Angela Bell.
Police charged her with stealing but when asked if she knew it was wrong to take items without paying, an indignant Bell told police: "Yes, I stole it. I'm not stupid. Don't treat me as if I'm dumb."
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said at Ipswich Magistrates Court that Bell had 31 prior convictions for stealing and dishonesty offences.
Angela Grace Lorraine Bell, 35, from Leichhardt, pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing from stores at Ipswich on Tuesday, October 16.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Carl Spargo said police were called to a disturbance at the Riverlink centre at noon.
Coles supermarket staff told officers they found a female who attempted to leave the store with unpaid goods in her trolley.
Bell was stopped by staff and brought back into the store.
Police found $42.15 worth of unpaid items in her trolley.
Sen-Const Spargo said cosmetics worth $12.95 were also found.
CCTV footage taken at 11am in another store showed Bell picking up the cosmetics then leaving without paying.
At the time she was still subject to a suspended sentence and probation order for previous offences.
Defence lawyer Jason Voight said Bell was a single mother with four children and was also her mother's primary carer.
Mr Voight said the items had been returned to the stores and that the offences were "low-level", and came 20 months after her last offences.
Ms Sturgess, however, said she counted 31 previous dishonesty offences on Bell's criminal record.
"She just keeps stealing. There is a limit to the leniency that can be shown," Ms Sturgess said.
Ms Sturgess said Bell had told police she was not an idiot and knew she had to pay for things.
Ms Sturgess said Bell had offences dating back to 1997 and had been given lenient sentences in the past.
She was sentenced to three months' jail on each offence to be served concurrently.
Her previous three-month suspended sentence was added on, making a six-month jail term.
Bell was released to immediate parole.