At the age of 57, the law finally caught up with Desiree Williams, a serial shoplifter with more than 34 previous convictions under her belt, when she was convicted and handed down a hefty sentence for her latest crime.

Williams, who seems to have got off lightly after committing dozens of thefts over the past three decades, is still awaiting trial for a further 31 pending cases against her.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson for Gauteng, Lumka Mahanjana, said Williams was recently convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for her latest theft in the Pretoria North Regional Court.

Williams, who is originally from Cape Town, was convicted for stealing two pairs of leggings, valued at R798.40 which she had shoplifted from a  Cotton-On retail store on 25 October 2021.

“Williams confessed and pleaded guilty in court to the charge of theft. She told the court that on 25 September 2021 she went to Cotton-On in Montana and intentionally stole two pairs of leggings,” Mahanjana said.

“After checking if they fit her in the fitting room, she put them in her bag intending to leave the store without paying for them.  When she was walking out the door, the store manager stopped her and called her to the back office and searched her bag. The items were found and police were called and Williams was arrested and has been in custody since,” she said.

Prosecutor, Rabia Ebrahim, told the court that it was in the interest of society to impose a harsh sentence as Williams had continued to commit the same offences since 1981 and no sentence had rehabilitated or deterred her.

She told the court that Williams had 34 previous convictions for theft, 29 of which were committed more than ten years ago, while five were committed between 2011 and 2020. She is still awaiting trial for 31 pending cases.


Ebrahim argued that if the court gave her a lenient sentence, she would likely commit the same offence again. She further asked the court to declare Williams a habitual criminal in terms of Section 286 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

“The court warned Williams that should she be convicted of another offence she may be declared a habitual criminal,” Mahanjana said.

Mahanjana added that the NPA welcomed the sentence and was grateful for the dedication of the Sinoville Police Station investigating officer whose hard work has led to Williams’ latest conviction and sentencing.


-The South Africa News

By Daniel

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