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27 Nov 2021

Derry woman given suspended sentence for 'Wally' theft

A shoplifter who admitted stealing an adult fancy dress costume known as Where's Wally from the Party Warehouse premises in the Springtown Industrial Estate in Derry, has been given a four month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at the city's Crown Court.

Derry courthouse

Bishop Street Courthouse

A shoplifter who admitted stealing an adult fancy dress costume known as Where's Wally from the Party Warehouse premises in the Springtown Industrial Estate in Derry, has been given a four month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at the city's Crown Court.

Mary Donegan, 33, from Carnhill was recorded on in-house CCTV cameras stuffing the costume, valued at £39.99, inside her top on November 9, 2017. Her partner, Ernest Moore, who at one stage was her co-defendant, accepted a formal police caution for his involvement in the theft.

A barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told Judge Philip Babington that on the date of the theft Donegan and her partner entered the premises where Donegan told a female staff member that she wanted a costume for her son. She then went to another section of the warehouse with her partner where she was recorded taking a costume from the shelves and secreting it on her person.

Her partner left the warehouse on his own and waited outside in his car and when Donegan attempted to exit the premises the alarm system was activated.
"She told the female staff member that she had a metal object inserted in her leg and that must have activated the alarm system. She then left the premises," the barrister said.

Images of the defendant and of her partner were put on police briefing pages and during a controlled viewing they were both recognised by a police officer.
The prosecutor said Donegan had ten previous convictions, one of them for shoplifting six years ago. He told the court the stolen Where's Wally costume was never recovered.

Judge Babington said by her offending Donegan had deprived a hard-working person of her livelihood. As well as imposing the suspended jail sentence he ordered Donegan to pay compensation of £39.99 to the Party Warehouse.

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