Woman stole poor box, used stolen credit card in litany of offences

April 16, 2018

A District Court Judge has ordered a probation report in the case of 20-year-old Sarah Mihai, who appeared in court on a number of theft and credit card fraud charges. 

Mihai, of 20, Woodview Terrace in Stranorlar has pleaded guilty to the charges which date from 9 July 2016 6 November 2017.

Mihai was charged with the theft of property to the value of €50 from a barbers in the Courtyard Shopping Centre on July 9, 2016.

The defendant, was charged with the theft of €50 from a shop on July 19, 2016 and the Court heard that on 10 January, 2017, Mihai was observed taking a Simon Community collection box, containing around €150, from the All Seasons Charity Shop in Ballybofey, when she was accompanied by an older female, who distracted staff.

Inspector Sean Grant said Mihai was detained by security staff at St Conal’s Hospital after removing a purse from a handbag that was held in an office to which she gained entry. Mihai gave Gardai a false name and address when apprehended.

On October 17, 2017, Mihai entered the staff area of the Coffee Factory, took a purse from a locker and left the premises. Mihai subsequently used a card from the purse to make contactless payments in several locations.

Mihai admitted to the theft of €300 in mixed coins and two cartons of cigarettes, worth €178, after gaining entry to an office at John Mac’s Mace in Stranorlar on October 22, 2017.

On October 26, 2017, Mihai took a Samsung Galaxy 7 from the Private Collections shop at Letterkenny Shopping Centre. The phone was recovered later from a relative of Mihai.

On November 6, 2017, Mihai, after attempting to distract a shop assistant, went behind the till of Centra, Main Street, Ballybofey and removed 14 €50 notes from the till. After being held by a shop assistant, Gardai were able to recover and return the money, totalling €700.

Solicitor Patsy Gallagher said Mihai had €200 with her in court and that she wished to deal with the loss.

“She knew nothing better through her teenage years,” Mr Gallagher said. “She has been looking forward to her future. She has had her own difficulties, but she has a future ahead of her.

“She has got herself a job and is working part-time. She will raise through her employment any losses.

Judge Paul Kelly said a total of €500 was now due.

“She was in places she had no business being in,” Judge Kelly said. “There was a very mean-spirited one where she took €150 from a charity.”

Judge Kelly said a custodial sentence was ‘warranted’ in the court, but adjourned the matter to June 21 and directed that a probation report be prepared.


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