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Mum robbed shoppers of purses

A SERIAL thief who targeted unwitting female shoppers and stole their wallets and handbags as they were browsing at Blackrock Shopping Centre has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Mother-of-three Ann Gavin (41) said she had struggled with a heroin problem for more than 20 years, and also endured the pain of losing her son in a car accident four years ago.

The defendant, of Ballybough Road, Dublin 3, admitted before Dun Laoghaire District Court to seven counts of theft.

Garda Sergeant Peadar McCann said Gavin stole handbags and purses from four women as they did some pre-Christmas shopping in Marks & Spencer and Superquinn in Blackrock on December 11. On that occasion, the total value of the bags, car keys, credit cards and cash stolen by Gavin amounted to just over €1,000.

Gavin, who is unemployed, returned to Blackrock on February 25, and stole handbags, cash and a Blackberry mobile phone from three shoppers, again as they shopped in Marks & Spencer and Superquinn.


The value of these thefts was just under €700.

Sgt McCann said the property was not recovered, and Gavin was later identified from CCTV footage.

The court heard that Gavin had 92 previous convictions, including a large number for theft.

Defence solicitor Ronnie Lynam said Gavin's story was one of significant hardship.

Mr Lynam said she started taking drugs at 16 years of age, and had battled a heroin problem ever since.

At one stage, she was on 180mls of methadone per day but she had gradually reduced this to 40mls.

Mr Lynam said Gavin had three children, including a son who died in a car accident four years ago.

The court heard that Gavin was "no stranger" to the Dochas Centre.

The judge was told that while in prison, Gavin had completed her Leaving and Junior Certificates, and had done a number of courses.

Judge Ann Ryan sentenced Gavin to six months.