A MOTHER and daughter duo who reduced a woman to tears by stealing her Apple iPhone in Rose City Shoppingworld at Christmas have been given a dressing down in court and together fined $1000.
Karen Marie Burgis, 40, and her 20-year-old daughter Melanie Maree Burgis appeared in the Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday charged with one count each of stealing, to which they both pleaded guilty.
The court heard the pair were out doing a spot of Christmas shopping on December 20 last year and at one point availed themselves of the gift-wrapping service offered by the centre.
An iPhone sitting beside another female shopper's handbag caught the eye of Melanie Burgis, who found herself unable to resist the temptation to grab it while the woman wasn't looking, slipping the device to her mother, who concealed it in a shopping bag.
The pair then deposited the phone in their vehicle, parked in the shopping centre car park, and returned to the gift-wrapping stand, only to be confronted by the distressed owner of the phone, who accused them of stealing it as they were the only other individuals present.
The mother and daughter denied the theft, even after the phone's owner told them it had photos of her recently deceased mother on it, as well as offering not to go to the police if the phone was returned.
Rose City Shoppingworld staff and police were later forced to use "Find My Phone" technology and after considerable time and effort finally located it at the Burgis residence.
Karen Burgis was told by Magistrate Lee that she "should have known better" at her age and fined her $600, while Melanie Burgis was fined $400. No convictions were recorded.