The handbag had $1500 of recently exchanged foreign currency.
The handbag had $1500 of recently exchanged foreign currency.

68-year-old handbag thief handed jail term

A 68-YEAR-OLD woman and her carer were accused of stealing a woman's handbag in which was $1500, Toowoomba Magistrates Court has heard.

Police prosecutor Nikola Prince told the court the 67-year-old victim woman had gone to Grand Central on October 18 and exchanged $1500 for foreign currency.

The woman had then done some shopping, placing her handbag on the shopping trolley and only realised later it was missing.

Police claimed Paula Maree Gillespie, 68, had stolen the handbag and she and her accomplice had changed some of the foreign currency back into Australian dollars and spent it.

They had later returned to the travel agency and changed the rest of the currency.

Police had identified Gillespie by CCTV footage and found her playing the pokies at a pub at 12.30am the next day.

Taken to the watch house, Gillespie made full and frank admissions but said she had thrown the handbag away but it had been found at her residence with more than $100 in it as well as the complainant's medication, she said.

Ms Prince said $1345 of the $1500 had been spent.

When Gillespie was processed at the watch house she was found to have a pipe and cone piece which smelt of burnt cannabis and a blister pack of medication for which she did not have a prescription.

She pleaded guilty to stealing, fraud, possessing a drug utensil and a controlled drug.

Her solicitor Brad Skuse told the court his client instructed they had found the handbag in a trolley in the car park and had taken it inside.

Mr Skuse said he believed his client's carer had also been charged but he was unaware if she had been dealt with by the court.

His client was no longer associated with that carer, he said.

Magistrate Damian Carroll noted Gillespie was on a two-month suspended jail term from previous like offending and sentenced her to six months in jail, to be released on parole immediately, and ordered she pay $672, her share of restitution.



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