Woman admits to stealing from students' bags at University Library

A young woman from Hamrun has been released on bail pending sentencing after she admitted to stealing cash from University students’ bags while they visited the campus library

A light-fingered young woman from Hamrun has been released on bail pending sentencing after she admitted to stealing cash from University students’ bags while they visited the campus library.

23-year-old Amber-Ann Zammit from Hamrun appeared before magistrate Charmaine Galea this morning assisted by lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri.

Inspector Colin Sheldon told the court that the woman had been identified from CCTV footage, which showed her rifling through bags deposited in the library pigeonholes. The pigeonholes which had been installed as bags are prohibited items at the university library, a measure intended to prevent book theft, are not secured.

She was charged with six counts of theft, three of which were aggravated by the time of the offence. The amounts stolen were between €20 and €70 every time, he said.

On six separate occasions, five in November and another last week, Zammit had visited the University library, despite not being enrolled as a student, pilfering small amounts of cash which she then allegedly used to buy designer goods.

Zammit told the court that she wished to plead guilty. The court warned her that she could be jailed for up to two years and that a suspended sentence was not an option, as the woman had already been given a 3-year conditional discharge for a previous crime –theft, from a Sliema fashion outlet – in 2016. She is believed to have other theft convictions.

The accused persisted in her guilty plea.

The defence requested a pre-sentencing report to better understand any underlying issues.

Bail was requested pending the completion of the report.

The prosecution didn’t object with Inspector Sheldon saying “I’d rather she learnt a lesson than insist on her going to jail,” although he insisted that she should be banned from entering the University grounds. “She should have learned her lesson the first time,” chided the court.

The court granted her bail, ordering her to sign a bail book three times a week, against a deposit of €200 and a personal guarantee of €1,000.

A request for the ban on publication of her name was turned down by the court, as there were no legal grounds for this.

The case will continue in March.

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