A TRUSTED employee at Shaw's in Fermoy has avoided jail after being convicted of stealing more than €3,000 in cash from the department store in an elaborate scam.
Mary Buttimer with an address at Knockatrislane, Kilworth pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at last Friday's sitting of Fermoy District Court.
Buttimer was accused of stealing €85 in cash from the store on September 26 last and of stealing €3,000 in cash from the store between July 2009 and August 2010.
Inspector Tony O'Sullivan told the court that Buttimer had been a trusted employee at Shaw's for more than three decades.
"She had horses and it would appear that these were costing her money so she started stealing from the shop," said the inspector.
"If someone wanted to buy a jacket for €90 she would use a till code for ladies briefs priced at €5. She would put €90 in the till and later on remove €85, which she would keep for herself."
The inspector said that management had been aware of what was going on and had captured the incident on September 26 on CCTV.
He said that through Buttimer's own admission the total amount of cash taken between July 2009 and August 2010 would have been €3,000.
"This particular code was used a total of 63 times more than it should have been between February to September, but it would be difficult to evaluate the exact sums because of the different items involved," he said.
"The defendant would have been viewed as a very trustworthy member of staff and this was the only job she had ever had since starting work in 1977.
"She told gardai she knew what she was doing was wrong, but once she started she could not stop."
The inspector pointed out that Buttimer, who had no previous convictions, had paid over €3,085 in compensation to the court.
Solicitor John Brooks described the situation as "unfortunate" as Ms Buttimer had been "wellthought of" by her employers.
"When questioned by gardai she admitted everything and offered her resignation straight away to avoid any further problems for her employers. I know it does not make the matter right but she has offered compensation," said Mr Brooks.
"My client got herself involved in debts and expenses that got out of hand and she found she could get the money to pay for these," he added.
Convicting Buttimer Judge Pattwell jailed her for 14-days in relation to the theft on September 26 and ninemonths on the second charge, suspending both jail terms for two years.