Shoplifter apologises in court after stealing thousands of euros worth from retail shops

Woman receives suspended sentence after stealing from The Atrium, Forestals and Smart Supermarket in the past two months

Court (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Court (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

A shoplifter apologised in court after admitting to stealing over a thousand euros worth of items from three retail shops, receiving an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for four years.

Donna Andrews, 37, from Santa Venera was arraigned before magistrate Leonard Caruana on Monday, accused of three counts of theft, two of them aggravated, between July 2023 and February 2024, as well as recidivism.

Police inspectors Andrew Agius and Joseph Mallia, assisted by prosecutor Brandon Bonnici from the Office of the Attorney General, explained that officers examining security footage had identified Andrews as a suspect in a number of reported thefts from The Atrium, Forestals and Smart Supermarket in the past two months. The court was told that the evidence also linked the woman to another theft which had occurred last July.

Andrews was arrested on Saturday on the strength of a warrant issued by a magistrate.

The woman pleaded not guilty at first, but after the prosecution and defence lawyers discussed the case privately with the magistrate for several minutes, the woman reversed her initial plea and filed an admission.

The sitting was then briefly suspended to allow her to reconsider. Andrews confirmed her admission of guilt when the sitting resumed.

Making submissions on punishment, the prosecution highlighted the woman’s cooperation with the police investigation and her health problems, while the defence stressed the early guilty plea and her genuine intention to bring her life back on track.

Andrews had stayed out of trouble with the law since 2016 and had returned the stolen goods, added her lawyer.

The court, having seen the charges and in view of Andrews’ admission of guilt, declared the woman to be guilty, sentencing her to 18 months in prison, which were suspended for four years. She was also placed under an 18-month supervision order and ordered to repay a total of €1,139 to the victims within three months.

When warned by the court that she must avoid committing further offences during the suspension period or face 18 months in jail, the woman said “I give you my word.”

She thanked the court after it explained that she would receive assistance through the supervision order. “I appreciate it. I need it. I thank you very much... I ask for forgiveness and apologise."

Lawyer Wilfrid Buttigieg assisted Andrews as legal aid counsel.