A young woman who stole over €6,500 of designer items from Dublin’s Brown Thomas and then sold them on the street for “relatively small money” has been jailed for nine months.
Ellavita Flynn (25) had gone into Brown Thomas on Grafton street, selected items and taken them without paying, four times over two weeks.
She was caught leaving the store on the last occasion with a €2,280 Luis Vuitton handbag. This item was the only one recovered.
Flynn, of Deerpark Lodge, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to stealing a €395 Michael Kors watch, a €2,400 Prada handbag, a €1,490 Gucci handbag and the Luis Vuitton handbag at Brown Thomas on dates between December 19, 2017 and January 2, 2018.
Flynn’s three previous convictions are for thefts, all dealt with at District Court level.
Passing sentence today, Judge Elma Sheahan said that she placed Flynn on a six-month probation bond in February, last, and that while on this bond she has come before the District Court on a number of similar charges.
Judge Sheahan said Flynn is currently in custody at her own request where she is on a methadone programme and wants to complete a hairdressing course. She said the Probation Service judged Flynn to be at a high risk of re-offending in the next 12 months.
She said the case was aggravated by the seriousness of the offences, the previous convictions for theft and the similar charges that were before the court.
‘A backdrop of addiction and homelessness’
Judge Sheahan said the mitigating factors in the case were Flynn’s plea of guilty, her remorse, her engagement with services in custody, her family support and the fact that the offences were committed “against a backdrop of addiction and homelessness”.
She sentenced Flynn to 12 months imprisonment, but suspended the final three months of the sentence for six months on strict conditions including that she follow all directions of the Probation Service for six months post release.
At an earlier sentence hearing, Detective Garda Joseph Heaphy told Ronan Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that Brown Thomas had high quality CCTV footage of Flynn taking the items on each occasion.
The detective said €4,249 worth of items were not recovered and that Flynn had sold these on the street for “relatively small money”.
When interviewed about the thefts, Flynn said she was sorry. The court heard she was of no fixed abode at the time.
The detective agreed with Andrew King BL, defending, that the offending was opportunistic and that Flynn had had addiction issues.
Mr King submitted to Judge Sheahan that his client had been in care as a young teenager and began abusing substances aged 18.
He said this was as a result of her hanging about with “undesirable peers”.
Counsel said Flynn was volunteering in a charity shop so she could gain employment experience, but that she had ambitions to be a chef. He said his client was more mature now and in a different place in her life.