Money box snatched in 'mean' theft

A Dunedin woman who snatched the day's takings from a 73-year-old woman's stall during last Saturday's Thieves Alley market has been convicted of theft.

Margaret Manu Cabral (32), unemployed, was pursued by security staff through the crowded market after stealing a $40 money box containing several hundred dollars, prosecutor Sergeant Ross Hutton told the Dunedin District Court. Cabral was eventually caught in Great King St and the money box and its contents recovered.

Yesterday she admitted the theft and was sentenced to 50 hours' community work.

Duty lawyer Andy Belcher described the offence as unsophisticated and unpremeditated. Cabral had expressed her genuine remorse in a letter to the court and took full responsibility.

''This was a pretty mean theft. Your apology recognises that,'' Judge Alistair Garland said. He told Cabral if she had an issue with alcohol it was up to her to do something about it.