Shoplifting family say they can't control urge to steal
A QUEENSLAND mother and her two daughters who swiped clothes from Target Country have claimed they suffer from kleptomania when together and can't control their urge to steal.
The Holtham family fronted Warwick Magistrates Court on Wednesday and all three narrowly avoided time behind bars after a long history of dishonesty.
Theresa Ann, 56, and her daughter Chanelle Rose, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing after a previous conviction, while second daughter Amanda Jane, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing.
Police Prosecutor Ken Wiggan said the women should all serve time in jail as the two daughters had a history with multiple counts of stealing, while Theresa had "page after page of frauds".
The incident that brought the Holthams to court yesterday took place in March when Theresa, Chanelle and Amanda shoplifted jeans and a shirt from Warwick's Target Country.
Sgt Wiggan said staff were suspicious about the trio when they sneakily convened in the shoe section.
The court heard they walked out with the clothes stuffed in a pram, but then staff discovered clothes tags and hangers hidden in a shoe rack.
"Staff recognised the offender as a customer had previously ordered a product and found her name," Sgt Wiggan said.
Lawyer Sarah Campbell said the women had an issue of kleptomania when together and didn't shop together any more.
"They send someone else or go individually," Mrs Campbell said.
"The redeeming quality is there hasn't been any offending for over two years and obviously something has changed in their behaviour that it stopped for a period of time."
Mrs Campbell said the family would benefit from probation so they could seek counselling.
Acting Magistrate Robert Walker said he had no professional report to confirm the women suffered from a compulsion to steal.
"The impression given is some sort of automatic behaviour but there is some degree of calculation that goes into this," he said.
Mr Walker said he appreciated the family's need for counselling, but Theresa and Chanelle, who now lives at Amiens, were beyond the point where probation was acceptable.
The pair were sentenced to four months' jail but where released on immediate parole.
Amanda was ordered to serve 12 months' probation.
All convictions were recorded.