A SHOPLIFTER who attempted to make a decoy baby out of a soft-toy dog and a bra in a creative bid to smuggle stock from a discount store has been sentenced.
Saffron Curtiss-McGinty hatched a plan to stash stolen goods under a child’s buggy – but she didn’t have a baby to justify pushing a pram.
So the 18-year-old came up with a cunning plan to make the child out of a cuddly toy dog – dressed in a baby-grow and scratch mitts – with half a bra with a face drawn on.
But staff at B&M Bargains in Stratford Road, Solihull, became suspicious and stopped her on January 27 and found scented candles, sweets and an electric toothbrush hidden in the buggy.
West Midlands Police officers were called and arrested Curtiss-McGinty, from Conybere Road in Highgate, for theft and assault after hearing allegations she’d slapped a store manager across the face.
She admitted two counts of shoplifting − having also been caught on CCTV stealing from the same store the previous day − and assault by beating.
At Birmingham Magistrates Court she was given a 12-month community order − including attendance on a rehabilitation course − and ordered to pay compensation and court costs.
Solihull Police Chief Inspector Jack Hadley, said: “She won’t be winning any awards for her artwork that’s for sure – I guess her baby portrait could be politely described as ‘abstract’.
“We have known thieves try to use a child’s buggy before to conceal stolen items − it’s a tactic police and retailers are well aware of − but I’ve never come across a case of anyone making their own child.
“Shoplifting is a serious matter, though, and recent figures show that West Midlands Police investigates some 16,000 shop thefts a year – costing the tax-payer more than £1million.”
West Midlands Police works with stores crime prevention initiatives including radio schemes which link officers with shopkeepers and Facewatch that allows retailers to quickly pass crime reports and CCTV to investigators.
Officers can apply for criminal behaviour orders to ban prolific shoplifters from retail centres − with possible jail time if these orders are breached.