‘Professional’ shoplifters

A MARRIED couple described by Judge Catherine Staines as a “professional shoplifting operation” who attempted to steal over €800 of clothes from a Portlaoise store were last week given a suspended sentence.

A MARRIED couple described by Judge Catherine Staines as a “professional shoplifting operation” who attempted to steal over €800 of clothes from a Portlaoise store were last week given a suspended sentence.

Maria and Bogdan Paraschivoiu, of Apt 2, Maryborough Street, Graiguecullen, were charged with theft and possession of certain articles, at TK Maxx, Kyle Shopping Centre, Portlaoise, on May 7, 2011.

Inspector Martin Harrington told the District Court that the couple took clothing from the rails worth €833 and they used a device to removed the security tags.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that his clients had subsequently contacted the headquarters of TK Maxx in Nottingham, England, and had sent €1,040 compensation to the company. He said his clients, who are Romanian nationals, had been living in Ireland some 20 months and were finding it difficult to make ends meet. They had a number of bills to pay and they simply stole the items to clothe themselves.

“€800 worth?” asked an incredulous Judge Staines.

“Those are my instructions,” replied Mr Meagher.

Describing the pair as “a professional shoplifting operation”, Judge Staines imposed a six-month sentence, suspended for two years. She warned the couple: “If you get involved in shoplifting again you’ll go to prison.”