Wednesday 21 February 2018

Purse thief targeted 'vulnerable' mum holding baby and a buggy

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Andrew Phelan

A SERIAL thief snatched a young mother's purse while she was "vulnerable" in a train station, holding her baby in one hand and a buggy with the other.

Leanna Hughes (23) followed the woman into toilets at Heuston Station where she grabbed her purse and locked herself into a cubicle with it.

In other incidents, she stole a tip jar from a restaurant and was caught breaking into a flat.

Judge Bernadette Owens gave Hughes, who has an address at a city centre hostel, an eight-month suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to a string of thefts.

Gda Sgt Eimear Curran told Dublin District Court that on February 21, Hughes followed a woman into the toilets at Heuston Station.

The victim was holding a baby in one arm and a buggy with the other, with her bag over her shoulder.

Hughes bumped into the victim and a witness saw her "dipping" her bag, taking her purse from it.

She then went into a toilet cubicle with the purse and locked the door, but security staff were notified, she was det-ained and gardai were called.

CLOAKROOM

The purse, which was returned to the victim, contained €150.

The court also heard that on May 26, Hughes went to a bar and restaurant on Manor Street and stole a tip jar containing €300, and a suitcase from the staff cloakroom.

The total value of property taken in that robbery was €2,010 and none of it has been recovered. On May 31, she returned to the same establishment but was stopped by staff, who called gardai.

Sgt Curran said that on February 18, Hughes went to the tills at Lidl, with a basket full of groceries, and presented a stolen Visa debit card. Staff refused to accept it.

When she was then arrested, she told gardai she was sorry.

On June 16, a resident at an apartments complex at Aston Quay saw Hughes and a man trying to climb into his apartment through the bedroom window at 9.15pm. They left when he disturbed them.

The court heard Hughes had 47 previous convictions.

She had been stealing to fund her use of methadone, which she had been buying on the street because she was unable to access a programme, her solicitor Kieran Conway said.

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