A thief who claimed she was forced to steal nearly £2,000 of goods from East Midlands Designer Outlet stores has narrowly been spared from a prison sentence.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on October 10 how Alina Florentina Niculae, 25, of Henshaw Street, Oldham, struck at Sunglasses Hut, a Calvin Klein store, the Cosmetic Company and Watch Station at the South Normanton retail park.
Prosecuting solicitor Sarah Haslam said: “The defendant entered all four stores at the East Midlands Designer Outlet and was seen removing items of clothing, glasses and cosmetics.
“She was stopped by security staff who thought she was behaving suspiciously and they found all the items and they were recovered. The goods totalled £1,899.86”
Niculae told police she was driven to the retail park by two friends who told her it was an easy place to steal from and she would not get caught.
The defendant also admitted to police that she had used tin foil to wrap around some of the security tags to disarm them and to avoid being detected.
She also claimed she had been scared and she did not know what she was doing and she was deeply sorry for what she had done.
Niculae, who has previously been given a fixed penalty fine for shoplifting, pleaded guilty to the four thefts which had been committed on October 8.
The defendant stole three pairs of sunglasses worth £471 from Sunglasses Hut, £404.50 worth of clothes from the Calvin Klein store, £243.36 of cosmetics from the Cosmetic Company and £781 of watches and jewellery from Watch Station.
Defence solicitor Ben Strelley said: “The account she gave to the police was that the male and female took her to the shops and told her what to take and how to take it.
“She said she was reluctant to be involved however once in the vehicle there was some pressure applied to her and she accepts she agreed to go through with what they were proposing.”
Mr Strelley added that Niculae had been told by the other two that if she did not go through with the thefts they would not give her a lift home and that was one of the reasons why she committed the offences.
Magistrates sentenced Niculae to eight weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with 150 hours of unpaid work.
She was also ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs.