A Woonona woman who stole more than $6,000 from Coles at Corrimal while working on the checkout has narrowly avoided a full-time jail sentence.
Hannah Marie Beecroft, 22, was at a loss to explain her actions when she fronted Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday for sentencing on a single charge of stealing property as a clerk/servant.
However, Magistrate Geraldine Beattie found the matter so serious she placed Beecroft on a nine-month intensive corrections order – one step back from full-time custody.
As part of the sentence, Beecroft will be required to perform 180 hours of unpaid community service work.
She has already lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence.
Court documents said Coles’ fraud management team launched an investigation into missing cash in the store in December last year.
The team identified “cash discrepancies” in registers used by Beecroft, prompting them to review CCTV footage of three occasions on which she worked.
On December 29, Beecroft can be seen removing $900 from the till and putting it in her pocket. Two days later she takes another $300.
On January 9, the footage shows Beecroft placing a bag containing $1050 beneath the register, then later retrieving it and putting it in her pocket before leaving at the end of her shift.
A subsequent review of Beecroft’s shifts between November 21 and January 20 revealed money was missing from the till a further 12 times. The total amount taken was $6070.
Beecroft admitted to the theft during an interview with Coles management on February 9. Her employment was terminated on the spot.
She was charged by police on May 24.
In court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Matt Russoniello said his client had no prior criminal record and couldn’t explain her actions.
He said the former Holy Spirit student had undertaken missionary work in Papua New Guinea, achieved a diploma in hospitality and was currently working in Sydney.
He said Beecroft had cooperated with the police investigation and was remorseful for her actions.