Woman (57) Who Stole Well-Fitting Leggings Gets 10 years

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The Pretoria North Regional Court has sentenced a 57-year-old woman to 10 years in prison for stealing two pairs of leggings.

Desiree Williams, originally from Cape Town, has been caught and convicted of shoplifting more than 30 times and has 31 pending cases.

Williams ran out of luck when she stole leggings worth R798.40 from the Cotton-On retail store in Montana on 25 September 2021.

Unable to resist the allure of the tight-fitting stretch trousers, typically worn by women or girls, Williams told the court that she first tried them on and then hid them in her bag.

The accused said she tried to leave the shop without paying for the items, but was stopped by the store manager.

When her bag was searched the leggings were found and police were called. 

Williams was arrested and has been in custody since.

The prosecutor Rabia Ebrahim told the court that it was in the interest of society to impose a harsh sentence because Williams continues to commit the same offence since 1981 when she was first convicted at the age of 17.

“No sentence has rehabilitated or deterred her,” said the prosecutor.

Ebrahim told the court that Williams has 34 previous convictions for theft, 29 of those are older than 10 years while 5 are between 2011 and 2020 and she is still awaiting trial for 31 pending cases.

“Therefore, if the court gives her a lenient sentence, chances are she will commit the same offence again,” said Ebrahim.

The prosecutor further asked the court to declare Williams a habitual criminal in terms of Section 286 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

However, the court warned Williams that should she be convicted of another similar offence she risks being declared a habitual criminal.

Already slapped with a 10-year prison sentence, Williams faces more jail time if her pending cases result in a guilty verdict.