Shoplifter made baby out of toy dog and bra to fool staff
A shoplifter made her own baby out of a soft-toy dog and a bra in a creative bid to smuggle stock from a discount store, a court heard.
Saffron Curtiss-McGinty hatched a plan to stash stolen goods under a child's buggy but the problem was she didn't have a baby.
But the 18-year-old overcame the dilemma by making a child from a cuddly toy dog – dressed in a baby-grow and scratch mitts – and half a bra with facial features scrawled on the underwear.
Suspicious staff at B&M Bargains in Stratford Road, Solihull, stopped her on January 27 and found scented candles, sweets and an electric toothbrush hidden in the buggy.
West Midlands Police officers attended at 1.30pm and arrested Curtiss-McGinty, from Conybere Road in Highgate, for theft and assault after hearing allegations she had slapped a store manager across the face.
She admitted two counts of shoplifting – having also been caught on CCTV stealing from the same store the previous day – and assault by beating.
Birmingham Magistrates Court on Friday she was given a 12-month community order – including attendance on a rehabilitation course – and ordered to pay compensation and court costs.
Solihull Police Chief Inspector Jack Hadley, said: "She won't be winning any awards for her artwork that's for sure. I guess her baby portrait could be politely described as 'abstract'.
"We have known thieves try to use a child's buggy before to conceal stolen items – it's a tactic police and retailers are well aware of – but I've never come across a case of anyone making their own child.
"Shoplifting is a serious matter, though, and recent figures show that West Midlands Police investigates some 16,000 shop thefts a year costing the tax-payer more than £1-million.
"We work with stores on crime prevention initiatives like radio schemes linking officers with shopkeepers and Facewatch that allows retailers to quickly pass crime reports and CCTV to our investigators.
"We have robust offender management programmes and, for prolific offenders, can apply for criminal behaviour orders to ban them from retail centres – and if they breach the orders offenders face being jailed."