The lawyer of a woman who shoplifted from two Brandon stores told the court she had no money at the time and was desperate for food and baby supplies.
Daya White, 24, pleaded guilty in Brandon provincial court on Thursday to two counts of theft under $5,000 and failing to attend court.
On June 17, police were called to the Real Canadian Superstore after employees saw White concealing multiple items in her purse, Crown attorney Yaso Mathu said.
White grabbed two steak packs and concealed them before going into the baby section and adding baby formula to her purse.
Employees confronted her and took back the merchandise, Mathu said, which totalled $133.30.
On her way out, White dropped a letter with her address on it, Mathu said, and police were able to locate her.
Two weeks prior, employees at Shoppers Drug Mart called police after a woman stole two boxes of diapers and left in a taxi cab.
The diapers were valued at $34.99 each, Mathu said.
Police were able to identify the woman as White through video surveillance.
"It’s concerning, one does feel pretty bad to think she is stealing food and items for what appears to be an infant," Mathu said. "I don’t know what her personal circumstances are or if she is in poverty."
"It makes the poverty claim a little more difficult when you take a cab to the place where you’re shoplifting from," Judge Donovan Dvorak interjected.
"That is exactly what I was about to say, Your Honour," Mathu said. "The sympathy is also diluted by the fact that there are other resources in the community for young mothers and for people who may be struggling with feeding their families."
While White has a small but related record, Mathu said rehabilitation still needs to be the focus of sentencing and recommended one year of probation as well as community service work.
Defence lawyer Ryan Fawcett told the court White was between social security cheques at the time of the offence and didn’t have any money.
After asking family members for help to no avail, White made the unfortunate decision that she did, Fawcett said.
White knew the owner of the taxi company, Fawcett explained, and had made an arrangement to pay for her ride later on.
Since the offence, White has gained employment, Fawcett said, and is in a more stable position financially.
Dvorak handed White $400 in fines as well as one year of unsupervised probation.
She was also ordered to repay $69.98 to Shoppers Drug Mart for the stolen diapers.
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