Hospital employee hid stolen phone in her bra

A hospital phone operator, who admitted stealing two mobile phones and hiding one of them in her bra was placed on probation for three years on condition she undergoes a drug rehabilitation programme

A hospital phone operator who hid a stolen mobile phone in her bra admitted to theft charges and was handed down a three-year probation.

Alison Mckeown, 38, a phone operator at Mater Dei Hospital, appeared before magistrate Francesco Depasquale charged with aggravated theft, misappropriation and relapsing.

Although the circumstances of the woman’s arrest were not revealed in open court – the parties instead approaching the bench, out of earshot of the press – police inspector Lara Butters told the court that one stolen phone had been found in the accused’s handbag and the other in her bra. Both stolen devices will be returned to the hospital administration to which they belong.

The accused was described as a drug addict with a habit stretching back 20 years.

Lawyer Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia entered a guilty plea to the charges, pointing out that the woman had cooperated with the police.

She had admitted at first opportunity and returned the stolen items, Debono said, acknowledging that the accused “has a bit of a substance abuse problem.” He suggested probation as the way forward in this case.

The court addressed Mckeown, explaining it would be giving an order to help her. Seeing the admission and the fact that the items had been returned and the accused had said that she had a drug problem that she wanted to solve, the court found her guilty and placed her on probation for three years, on condition that she undergo a drug rehabilitation programme.

“I’m going to give you a chance. I don’t want to cost you your job, but if you breach your probation you will be in trouble,” the magistrate said.

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