Accused charity thief to spend holidays behind bars


THE woman accused of ripping off the Salvation Army and stealing festive cheer from needy Maryborough households will spend the holidays behind bars.

Michelle Robson has made her first appearance in Maryborough Magistrates Court.

Ms Robson faced charges in connection with the theft of food hampers and donated gifts from the Salvation Army's hall in Bazaar St.

The organisation was allegedly targeted twice in two days.

The first incident was reported around noon on Sunday and the second occurred between Monday evening and early Tuesday morning.

Police prosecutors argued before Magistrate Terry Duroux that the 43-year-old posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending and should not be released on bail.

The court heard Ms Robson was on parole for previous offences at the time of the alleged theft

The court also heard officers had strong evidence linking the suspect to the case, including CCTV footage of a woman riding a bicycle and carrying what appeared to be packets filled with stolen goods.

Duty lawyer Travis George said Ms Robson went to the Salvation Army to look for assistance.

He suggested the incident was not as serious as it had been made out to be, as there was no sign of forced entry into the building.

Mr George also argued it was difficult to quantify the value of the items allegedly stolen, as they had been donated to the Salvation Army.

He questioned whether it was possible for one person to carry the estimated $2000 worth of stolen goods while riding a bicycle.

Mr Duroux accepted the argument that the accused was one of the people who the Salvation Army strives to assist but reminded Mr George that his client was facing a serious offence.

Bail was denied and Ms Robson was remanded into custody.

She is due to appear in court again via video link on January 20.