Jail term hangs over shoplifter who targeted Dunnes and Penneys in Cork

Jail term hangs over shoplifter who targeted Dunnes and Penneys in Cork
The court heard that more than €700 was stolen from two stores on Patrick's Street. Picture: Denis Minihane.

A 36-YEAR-OLD woman was caught in Cork city centre with more than €700 worth of property which she stole from shops there last month.

Jennifer O’Connor of 65 Killala Gardens, Knocknaheeny, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft when she appeared before Cork District Court today.

Her solicitor, Diarmuid Kelleher, who represents her on free legal aid, outlined a number of problems which the accused had in her life.

Sergeant John Kelleher outlined the background to O’Connor’s shoplifting.

She went to Penneys on St Patrick St on November 15 and stole €279 worth of goods. She went around the store and concealed the items in her bags and then passed all points of payment without paying for any of them. A security officer observed her thefts and stopped her outside the store. She accompanied the officer back into the premises and waited for gardaí.

Sgt Kelleher said O’Connor had stolen €279 worth of goods and all of them were recovered in a resaleable condition.

O’Connor admitted that on the same date she stole €435 worth of property across the road from Penneys in Dunnes Stores. Again she put the items in her bags and left all payment points without offering to pay for them.

To make matters worse for the defendant she has a four-month suspended jail term hanging over her since July last year. That was for theft and it was suspended on condition that she would keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of two years.

Diarmuid Kelleher said the defendant’s circumstances were extremely difficult as she had a child with serious health difficulties who required 24-hour care.

The solicitor said of the accused: “She had a meltdown. She was not in her sane senses. She was on medication. She took alcohol, three cans of beer (following her release from hospital for treatment related to her problems).”

Judge Olann Kelleher said he would take into consideration these matters and would not revoke the suspension of the older sentence today.

The judge adjourned sentencing on the two shoplifting charges until January 31 but warned that the four-month term was still hanging over her. He said if there were any further offences between now and the end of January it would result in an automatic jail term.

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