Woman stole from employer, retailers

A WOMAN who illegally withdrew money from her employer’s credit card and stole goods worth almost $1500  from Bendigo businesses has narrowly escaped jail.

Narelle Smithers, also known as Narelle Virt, was sentenced in Bendigo Magistrates Court on Tuesday to two months in jail for a string of dishonesty offences since late 2011.

But Magistrate Patrick Southey wholly suspended the Long Gully woman’s sentence for nine months following her guilty pleas and lack of relevant prior convictions.

Smithers, 33, was working as a house cleaner for several months in late 2011 and early 2012 and was charged with obtaining property by deception for making withdrawals totalling $1360 from her employer’s credit card without his permission.

The court heard her employer discovered the thefts when his credit card was refused while grocery shopping.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Liz Jones told the court Smithers also shoplifted from four Greater Bendigo retail outlets between June and September last year.

She said Smithers, often assisted by one or two co-offenders, stole bedding, clothes, toys, electronics and perfumes from Harvey Norman, Myer, Target and Chemist Warehouse worth almost $1500.

The woman was arrested in July after two shoplifting incidents at the Kangaroo Flat Harvey Norman store and was released on bail.

Smithers entered guilty pleas to four counts of shop theft, and one count each of attempted theft, obtaining property by deception and failing to appear on bail.

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