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A shoplifter who used gold wigs, cowboy hats and glasses to disguise her identity has been sentenced to community work.
Anastassia Borisovna Kouzovleva (49), of North Taieri, represented herself at the Dunedin District Court yesterday and said she was "ashamed and disturbed" by her own actions.
The defendant made a short, tearful speech in which she apologised to the supermarkets from which she had stolen and made a vow to cease her offending.
"I promise you’ll never see me in this courtroom again," Kouzovleva said.
On July 18, she went to New World in Mosgiel decked out in a collar-length gold wig, glasses and a puffer jacket.
The defendant grabbed fresh herbs, family-sized packs of beef mince and pork belly, and stashed them in her coat.
Kouzovleva paid for a packet of peanuts and walked off but was pursued by store security.
She discarded the meaty haul by a playground across the road, the court heard.
Six weeks later, Kouzovleva hit Pak’nSave in Dunedin, this time donning a wig with "long golden wavy ringlets" and a cowboy hat.
She took naan bread, dairy products, salmon and blueberries and used the same peanut diversion to make her way through the checkout area.
On September 17,
police raided Kouzovleva’s home and found the jacket, several wigs, seven long golden hair extensions and two cowboy hats, which corresponded with CCTV footage of the crimes.
She offered no reason for her actions at the time but more recently had an "unusual if not bizarre" explanation when interviewed by Probation.
Judge John Macdonald refused to repeat it in open court.
Kouzovleva, he said, had six previous convictions for theft from between 2011 and 2014 and accepted she had mental health issues.
"I’d like to do anything possible to repair the damage I caused," the defendant said.
But when the judge raised the possibility of community work, she mentioned her problems with social anxiety.
It was because of that that she also requested permanent name suppression.
Judge Macdonald was not persuaded.
He imposed 60 hours’ community work and ordered Kouzovleva to repay $150 for the stolen goods.