Parents jailed following theft

A YOUNG couple who stole a purse out of an elderly woman’s trolley on Monday have been jailed after facing the Maryborough Magistrates Court.

The 71-year-old victim had her entire fortnightly pension stolen as she did her grocery shopping at Bi-Lo in Maryborough.

She only realised her purse was gone when she reached the checkout and found herself in the embarrassing situation of not being able to pay.

Alexis Harrison, 25, and Robert Lance Collins, 26, were caught on security camera stealing the purse.

They had their 16-month-old child in a pram with them and the purse was placed in a bag hanging from the stroller.

Harrison and Collins were arrested on Wednesday after police spotted them at the same shopping centre.

Both made full admissions to police and pleaded guilty in court to stealing the elderly woman’s purse.

Harrison also pleaded guilty to six other charges of stealing – offences she had committed in Maryborough in the previous week.

The court heard she had entered the staff room of the Lincraft store on Ellena Street on August 24 and stole several purses and a mobile phone.

On August 27 a woman shopping at Dimmeys turned her back and had her purse stolen off the top of a pram she had been pushing.

A tradesman working at the Carriers Arms Hotel had his wallet stolen from his car on August 30.

Harrison’s last victim was a volunteer working at a Kent Street op-shop on September 1.

The volunteer had left her purse containing $550 in the staff room of the store. Harrison stole it that morning and was arrested by police that afternoon.

Prosecutor Sergeant Craig Ryan told the court the volunteer no longer felt safe and indicated she would not continue with her volunteer work following the theft.

Harrison was on parole at the time she committed the offences.

She had been released from Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre in July after serving part of a jail term for burglary and wilful damage offences.

She grew up in Cherbourg but moved to Maryborough to live with a sister after being released from jail.

Collins was on a suspended sentence when he took part in the theft.

He had lived in Brisbane before coming to Maryborough but had lived a transient life for several years.

Both offenders were unemployed and said they committed the offences because they had been struggling financially.

Magistrate John Smith described the offences as “deplorable”.

Mr Smith sentenced Harrison to 18 months in jail. She will be able to apply for parole in July 2011.

Collins was sentenced to three months in jail and his suspended sentence was invoked. He will be released on parole in February 2011.



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