Shoplifter targets Crown St Mall sales: court

The lure of the post-Christmas sales proved too much for a Wollongong woman who allegedly shoplifted several men's shirts from a store in Crown St Mall, despite being banned from entering the centre.

Tracey Joy Roberts was refused bail in Wollongong Local Court yesterday after she was charged with stealing from the bustling mall on Thursday during the first day of the end-of-year sales.

Police claim the 41-year-old wandered into the Diversity clothing store just after midday and quickly approached a rack at the back of the shop.

The store manager allegedly saw Roberts pinch two singlets, worth $40 each, and place them in her bag.

Roberts then moved to another rack where she stole a $50 men's T-shirt, the court was told.

She then allegedly took a small pair of scissors from her bag and cut the security tags off the items.

Police claim she placed the tags on the top of a nearby rack, returned the stolen clothing to her bag and tried to leave the shop.

The manager attempted to chat to Roberts but the woman allegedly managed to leave without paying for the clothes.

Crown St Mall security was contacted and confronted Roberts as she walked through the centre.

Officers searched her bag, allegedly retrieving the stolen clothing, and escorted Roberts back to the store.

Making a bid for bail on Roberts' behalf yesterday, defence solicitor Angela Melouney told the court her client was willing to report to police, abide by a curfew and provide a surety.

Ms Melouney said Roberts had been unclear about the parameters of the order banning her from the mall and noted she had mental health issues.

Registrar Tina McKenna refused bail, citing the need to protect the community, and adjourned the case to January 4.

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