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Bag-snatching great gran on crime spree


Kathleen Comerford

Kathleen Comerford

Kathleen Comerford

A GREAT grandmother who is considered Ireland's most prolific handbag snatcher has been jailed again after she was caught stealing two purses.

Kathleen Comerford (61), who now has 118 previous theft convictions spanning 45 years, was given a six-month jail sentence this week – but gardai fear that the prison authorities will let her out on temporary release – allowing her to continue her crime spree.

Comerford, from Sean O'Casey Avenue, in north inner city Dublin, has been one of the main targets of the hugely successful Operation Aughrim – led by the detective unit at Pearse Street Garda Station.



A senior source said: "Yes, she is locked up this weekend but no doubt she will be out again in a few days despite getting a six-month sentence.

"Gardai are sick of the situation – since she was last let out on temporary release she has been arrested 16 times and that's only since last July.

"This woman is a absolute menace, while she never uses violence, her crimes have left a lot of other ladies heartbroken and out of pocket."

On Thursday, at Dublin District Court, Comerford was jailed after she admitted snatching two purses in the Fleet Street area of the capital.

Before this week, her last appearance before a judge was at Sligo District Court in January where Comerford ended up being banned from three counties for her behaviour.

Judge Kevin Kilrane gave her a one-month suspended sentence and ordered her to stay out of counties Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal after she stole a purse from a mother in a shoe shop.

Comerford, who pleaded guilty, had 48 pages of previous convictions, a garda inspector told the court. In May and June 2012 she was jailed for theft offences, it was stated.

Inspector Colm Nevin said a woman was in a local shop trying on shoes with her child when her purse was taken from a bag she had left on a chair.

Gardai were notified and Comerford was later identified on CCTV as the culprit.

The court heard she has a long-standing battle with alcohol and is in bad health.



She suffered two strokes and had a recent operation, it was claimed. She also attended weekly at the Mater Hospital due to circulation problems.

"She was visiting Sligo for the weekend and had drink taken," said her lawyer.

Comerford, who was in court with her husband, had €50 in compensation.

Judge Kevin Kilrane asked Comerford why she stole.

"When I have drink on me I just steal," she said.

Asked what she was doing in Sligo, Comerford replied she was "just looking around".