A MOTHER-of-six who stole clothing worth more than €4,000 avoided a prison sentence despite being described as a “professional shoplifter”.
Mary McDonagh, aged 32, of Kildysart Road, Ennis, Co Clare pleaded guilty, at Limerick Court, to a number of theft charges relating to offences which occurred last year.
Insp Seamus Ruane said McDonagh stole clothing worth €921 from Dunnes Stores at the Parkway Shopping Centre on October 12, last.
Prior to that she stole clothing worth €1,271 from TX Maxx at the Parkway Retail Park on October 10, last and €2,293 worth of clothing from the same store on June 16, 2012.
Insp Ruane said the defendant, who has two previous convictions for theft offences, was apprehended by security staff following the most recent incidents.
He said she made admissions in relation to the offence last June following her arrest. The court was told that on each occasion McDonagh had placed the clothes in a trolley before leaving the store.
Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client was a “troubled woman” who is attending a consultant psychiatrist as she suffers from a mood disorder
In mitigation, he said her judgement had been impaired and he submitted that she was “not a very good thief”.
“She could not have done any more to draw attention to herself. It was amateur day,” he said.
Mr McCarthy added that his client had been foolish to steal from the same shop twice.
“If she had given any thought to it, she would not have gone back to TK Maxx a second time.”
However, Judge Aeneas McCarthy disagreed saying McDonagh’s behaviour “smacks of professional shoplifting to me”.
After being informed that McDonagh was apologetic and that most of the property was recovered, the judge said he would not impose a custodial sentence.
He imposed sentences totalling 15 months but suspended them on condition McDonagh does not commit any further offences during the next two years.