Champagne taste leads to prison after cork-popping $1500 shoplifting spree

Gone in 40 minutes.

A woman and her associate managed to steal more than $1500 of high-end alcohol from four Dunedin supermarkets in record time, the court heard yesterday.

Letiecia Terry Wilson, 24, had previously pleaded guilty to 14 counts of theft and two of burglary — convictions that would be added to 58 dishonesty crimes already on her growing record.

“You’re clearly someone who has practised the art of shoplifting and perfected it to a high degree,” Judge Robert Spear said in the Dunedin District Court.

“Though what you clearly have never come to realise is that the security cameras would always be able to pick you out. This was offending for which you were clearly going to be caught in due course as you were so well known.”

Wilson, a methamphetamine user since the age of 13, committed a flurry of thefts over the course of a week in July and August last year.

According to court documents, she primarily targeted alcohol, but also swiped meat and clothing.

“This is not nuisance offending,” Crown prosecutor Craig Power said.

“This is premeditated, deliberate theft of high-value items from supermarkets.”

Wilson was granted electronically monitored bail to a Christchurch address but within a matter of weeks had cut off her anklet and embarked on another shoplifting spree.

That ended with the dubious achievement of audaciously plundering four Dunedin supermarkets before she was finally arrested.

It began at 11.54am at Countdown Dunedin Central where Wilson and her colleague made off with three bottles of Moet and one of Veuve worth $362.

The co-defendant distracted staff while the woman left with the wine concealed in a bag.

In quick succession, the pair stole four bottles of Tattinger from Countdown Andersons Bay followed by six more bottles of Moet from the chain’s nearby Dunedin South store.

“She’s got good taste in alcohol,” Judge Spear quipped.

By 12.35pm — just 40 minutes after the spree began — they entered Fresh Choice Green Island where they stashed numerous bottles of wine down their pants before waddling away.

In a letter to the court, Wilson described her conduct as “another mistake”.

“These are not mistakes; this has been deliberate, persistent offending, and the fact you committed so many offences [on bail] … demonstrates you have really adopted this as your lifestyle,” the judge said.

Wilson was jailed for 22 months.

Judge Spear said the sentence could be converted to home detention should the defendant be accepted onto a residential rehabilitation programme.

High-end haul

December 2, 2021

11.54am: Four bottles of Champagne ($362) from Countdown Dunedin Central

12.12pm: Four bottles of Champagne ($360) from Countdown Andersons Bay

12.17pm: Six bottles of Champagne ($517) from Countdown Dunedin South

12.35pm: Numerous bottles of wine ($332) from Fresh Choice Green Island.

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