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Corner Brook woman vows to turn her life around after serial shoplifting convictions

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A woman who turned to stealing to support her drug addiction years ago is hoping to get her life turned around now that she is in prison.

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Brenna Lauranna Stevenson, who will be 36 next month, was convicted of 23 offences at provincial court in Corner Brook Friday.

Judge Kymil Howe sentenced her to eight months in prison, followed by 10 months of house arrest and a year of probation.

The charges against her were multiple counts each of theft under $5,000, possession of stolen property and breach of probation. The latest convictions will be added to a criminal record that was already 11 pages long and consisted of mostly the same kinds of offences.

The court heard Stevenson has been resorting to shoplifting to fuel a serious drug addiction for the last eight years or so.

Her lawyer, Gary Kearney, told Howe that Stevenson has had time to reflect on her life since being taken into custody for the last incident in mid-October. He provided Howe with a letter written by Stevenson while incarcerated and which indicates a desire to put her life back together.

Howe heard Stevenson wishes to enroll in a trades program and move to another community away from the people she had been associating with and who have similar addiction issues as her.

Kearney also tendered a copy of a certificate indicating Stevenson had completed a healthy life choices program while serving her time awaiting sentencing.

The sentence imposed by Howe was a joint recommendation from Kearney and Crown attorney Trina Simms.

Prior to being sentenced, Simms outlined the facts behind the charges to which Stevenson had previously entered guilty pleas.

Howe heard Stevenson stole $785 worth of groceries from Dominion in Corner Brook last June and bed sheets worth $89 from Wal-Mart in Corner Brook in September.

She took $280 worth of tools from Shears Building Supplies in Pasadena later in September before stealing $639 worth of battery chargers from Canadian Tire in Corner Brook later that same month.

In early October, she was found in possession of a cartful of groceries stolen from Sobeys in Corner Brook worth $551. In that same cart was $191 worth of tools lifted from Stan Dawe Limited in Corner Brook.

A few days later, she struck Canadian Tire again, this time stealing a booster pack, for which no dollar value was provided to the court.

Five days later, she helped herself to a pair of $129 boots from National Shoe Store in Corner Brook.

The final straw came Oct. 17, when police were alerted to two women suspected of shoplifting items at the Corner Brook Plaza. Stevenson was found in the backseat of a car, hiding under a pile of items taken from Carter’s Oshkosh, The Source, Warehouse One Jeans and Bluenotes.

The total value of the mall heist was $1,729.

Simms said Stevenson may not have been a violent offender, but she had to be incarcerated after the Oct. 17 arrest because it seemed likely the pattern of property offences was only going to continue.

She was given a credit of 1.5 days of time served for each of the 51 days she had spent in custody prior to being sentenced Friday.

In addition to the sentence decided upon by Howe, Stevenson was ordered to stay away from the businesses she stole from, as well as a co-accused involved in one of the incidents.

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