Two young women who took part in a highly unusual shoplifting escapade even asked for extra bags as the large paper bags they were using were tearing under the strain of being packed with so many clothes, a court has heard.
The two defendants today received suspended jail terms.
Leo Murphy, defence solicitor, said the accused women had been told by another party that she had vouchers that would be expiring and they agreed to help her to use them up.
Mr Murphy said the two young women, who were never in any kind of trouble before or since, did not realise what they were doing was wrong.
Judge Olann Kelleher agreed that it was a very unusual incident and he said the court had been concerned that they were very young and had not previously come to adverse attention.
The judge said the thefts were very serious offences warranting custodial sentences but that he would impose four-month suspended sentences.
As the defendants had been anxious to avoid convictions Mr Murphy asked for recognisances to be fixed pending an appeal.
The defendants were with two other young women and between them they stole €4,777 worth of clothes from Penney’s in Cork.
They claimed they believed at the time they had vouchers to take the goods for free.
The property was stolen in one visit to the store on September 11, 2016.
The women repeatedly went up to staff at the cash registers and asked for more bags. They were putting so many items into the bags that on some of the occasions they were asking for double bags for the goods.
The four women were arrested at a bus stop outside Penney’s on Patrick Street, Cork, having failed to offer payment for any of the goods. All of the stolen property was recovered by the store.
Two women involved in the escapade pleaded guilty to theft arising out of the incident yesterday.
Hlumisa Simhaya, 22, of 13 Maplewood, Mallow, County Cork, and Nikita George, 24, of 18 Cushing Road, Farranree, Cork, had no previous convictions of any kind.
Leo Murphy, defence solicitor, said Ms George was studying and Simhaya was hoping to commence third level studies.
Mr Murphy said, solicitor, said that one of the parties – not before the court – had told them that there were vouchers to cover the goods being taken. They believed that one of the other women, who kept approaching the cash registers, had been enquiring if their vouchers were covering everything they were taking.
Mr Murphy said the two women – as seen on CCTV – made no effort to conceal what they were doing.
“One of them even asked a member of staff to assist her in taking goods from the store,” Mr Murphy said.
Sentencing had been put back a number of times to allow for the preparation of probation reports on the two women. The reports were updated a number of times showing the progress they were making in their lives.