South Africa News

Career shoplifter sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing leggings

The Pretoria North Regional Court has sentenced a woman to 10 years imprisonment for theft.

Desiree Williams, 57, originally from Cape Town, was convicted of theft after stealing two pairs of leggings, valued at R798.40, from Cotton On 25 October 2021.

“Williams confessed and pleaded guilty in court to the charge of theft. She told the court that on 25 September 2021, she went to Cotton On in Montana [in Tshwane] and intentionally stole two pairs of leggings valued at R798.40.

“After checking if they fit her in the fitting room, she put them in her bag intending to leave the store without paying for them. When she was walking out the door, the store manager stopped her and called her to the back office and searched her bag.

“The items were found and police were called and Williams was arrested and has been in custody since,” said the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) North Gauteng regional spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana.

Prosecutor Rabia Ebrahim told the court that due to the fact that Williams had continued to commit the same offence since 1981 and no sentence had rehabilitated or deterred her, “it was in the interest of society to impose a harsh sentence”.

Williams has 34 previous convictions for theft and 29 of them are older than 10 years, while five convictions occurred between 2011 and 2020. She is still awaiting trial for 31 pending cases, Mahanjana said.

“Therefore, if the court gives her a lenient sentence, chances are she will commit the same offence again. The prosecutor [Ebrahim] further asked the court to declare Williams a habitual criminal in terms of section 286 of the Criminal Procedure Act,” Mahanjana said.

The court warned Williams that should she be convicted of another offence, she may be declared a habitual criminal.

-The Citizen

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