A woman admitted to a theft ‘spree’ when she stole goods valued at over €1,470 from seven shops across in Laois.
Caitlin Maughan, 22, of 119 St Oliver’s Park, Rathoath, Co Meath admitted stealing the items from shops in Stradbally, Abbeyleix and Portlaoise in 2021 and 2022.
She stole €156.70 of groceries from Mr Price in Portlaoise on November 8, 2021. She stole groceries valued at €96.57 from News Express, Laois Shopping Centre on November 16, 2021 and on December 3 of that year she stole prepaid power top ups and cigarettes from Circle K, Main Street, Abbeyleix valued at €171.
On February 11, 2022 she stole groceries valued at €18 from the Maxol Service Station in Portlaoise and on February 19, 2022 she stole cigarettes valued at €226 from the Spar Express in Mountrath and on the same date, she stole groceries valued at €384 from McSorley’s Centra on the Mountrath Road, Portlaoise. On February 21, 2022 she stole groceries and alcohol valued at €200 from Supervalu, Main Street, Stradbally and on April 25, 2022 she stole groceries worth €169.64 from Mr Price in Portlaoise. On October 14, 2022 she stole clothing valued at €57 from Tesco in Laois Shopping Centre, Portlaoise.
Garda Sergeant JJ Kirby said the accused had no previous convictions but had received one adult caution in Ardee, Co Louth earlier this year.
“She went on a spree here,” said Sgt Kirby.
Judge Andrew Cody said there had been eight thefts amounting to over €1,000 in the space of two years and the woman had “not a cent” in court as compensation. He said the crimes were recorded by different gardai.
“Every garda in Portlaoise is on the list, nearly,” he said.
Solicitor Michael Byrne said his client was a young woman who was in a “very, very dysfunctional relationship” with her ex-partner when she engaged in the crimes.
He claimed there was a “form of coercive control” and said the woman had a very difficult time.
“She was influenced by her ex-partner,” he told the sitting of Portlaoise District Court.
He said she was now outside of the dysfunctional relationship and had married six weeks ago.
Mr Byrne said the woman had also suffered with her mental health and “does apologise profusely” for the crimes. He said the woman was on disability and received about €220 a week.
“She was very, very close to her grandparents and during this time both of them died,” said Mr Byrne.
“It is a shocking amount of thefts but it was during this spree when she wasn’t taking her medication,” said Mr Byrne.
Judge Andrew Cody said the woman had appeared in court before and was given a chance.
“I ordered a probation report. She wouldn’t answer the phone or attend,” he remarked.
“I gave her that opportunity and she ignored them,” said Judge Cody.
Mr Byrne said his client was apologetic and is now “putting her hands up” for the crimes.
“She was very, very low with her mental health. She wasn’t taking her medication,” he said.
Judge Cody said five bench warrants had to be issued for the defendant. He sentenced the woman to 12 months and suspended the sentence for two years.