A CRANBOURNE woman with little criminal history told a court she had a compulsion to steal clothes from outlets in Fountain Gate, Frankston, and Chadstone shopping centres.
The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500 worth of purses, skirts, jumpers and blouses from the shops on four occasions in May, July and August.
She also pleaded to attempting to thieve a drink from a fridge at a Cranbourne shopping centre outlet.
When arrested on warrant at Narre Warren railway station on 28 August, she was wearing a jumper, dress and bangles stolen a few days earlier from Bayside, Dandenong Magistrates’ Court was told.
At the time, the woman was on two corrections orders handed down in November and February for shoplifting. She had no criminal history prior to that.
The accused told the court “I think it’s an addiction to take things from a shop”.
Magistrate Julie O’Donnell said there must be a trigger for the criminal turn.
“It’s unusual for a 32-year-old woman coming before the court now – and not before – without some reason.”
Ms O’Donnell noted the state psychiatric service Forensicare would not be able to confirm a diagnosis of kleptomania.
A defence lawyer said the accused had no reason or trigger. She had no intention of on-selling the items, the lawyer said.
The accused was back living with an ex-partner from a violent relationship since last August but she had no income or phone number, the lawyer said.
She hadn’t seen her children, who were staying with their grandparents, for up to eight months.
“I don’t know how suitable the Cranbourne address is,” her lawyer said.
“Obviously she does not think it’s suitable enough for her children to live there.”
This contradicted a Department of Corrections report that stated the woman was “essentially homeless”, Ms O’Donnell noted.
Ms O’Donnell said she was reluctant to jail the woman without knowing more about her.
The magistrate deferred sentence for a CREDIT bail assessment on 2 September, with a corrections order further down the track.
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