She got mail, stole things she wanted

CCTV SYS­TEM AMONG ITEMS

Pinjarra Murray Times - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Ri­fici

A FOR­MER Aus­tralia Post em­ployee who “blacked out and scorched” the names of ad­dressees on let­ters she stole was fined $1800 in Man­durah Mag­is­trates Court on May 22.

Fifty-four-year-old Wa­roona res­i­dent Linda Terese Coote pleaded guilty to two charges of steal­ing as a ser­vant.

Coote’s role was to de­liver mail and parcels in Lake Clifton, Pre­ston Beach and Hamel.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Se­nior Sergeant Mick Fal­lows said Coote se­lected a par­cel from a sec­tion of the stor­age room on Fe­bru­ary 8 at 6am, where the parcels were kept for in-per­son cus­tomer col­lec­tion.

Coote took one par­tic­u­lar par­cel, con­tain­ing a CCTV security sys­tem, and placed it among the other sorted mail due for de­liv­ery on the day.

Po­lice said Coote re­moved the par­cel at 8.30am that same day and walked to­wards Mil­lar Street.

Between Fe­bru­ary 8-12, the right­ful owner of the par­cel went to col­lect in-per­son at the post of­fice and it was found stolen.

Sgt Fal­lows said po­lice went to Coote’s home in Wa­roona on Fe­bru­ary 12 where Coote made a full ad­mis­sion and said she took the par­cel be­cause “she needed a CCTV sys­tem for her house”.

Coote told po­lice she thought the theft was “too easy” and dis­posed of the par­cel in a large in­dus­trial bin near Wa­roona IGA. The item was never re­cov­ered.

Dur­ing the same visit to Coote’s Wa­roona home on Fe­bru­ary 12, po­lice found un­opened let­ters ad­dressed to peo­ple liv­ing in Lake Clifton, Pre­ston Beach and Hamel, as well as three parcels miss­ing their orig­i­nal con­tents.

The names of the ad­dressees on the let­ters were “blacked out and slightly burnt and scorched”.

Coote told po­lice she stole the parcels be­cause no one lived at the ad­dresses, so she took them home and dis­posed of their con­tents.

Coote’s ac­tions were cap­tured on CCTV.

De­fence lawyer Fabian Pon­ton said Coote could not ex­plain why she did it but her brain had “snapped”.

He said Coote was go­ing through stress in her life at the time of the in­ci­dents.

Mr Pon­ton said part of the rea­son Coote dis­posed of the CCTV cam­era was be­cause “guilt over­took”.

Coote asked for a spent con­vic­tion or­der on the two of­fences so she could travel to Amer­ica with­out any is­sues.

Mag­is­trate Anne Long­den said Coote com­mit­ted acts of “re­peated dis­hon­esty”.

“You cov­ered the names of things owned by other peo­ple and burnt and scorched things; it’s con­cern­ing you can of­fer no ex­pla­na­tion,” she said.

Ms Long­den said Coote’s of­fences were a “breach of trust” and “af­fected the wider com­mu­nity” and fined her $1800.

She de­nied Coote a spent con­vic­tion or­der be­cause she was re­tired, the of­fences were se­ri­ous and she had no ex­pla­na­tion for her ac­tions.

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