The 28-year-old yesterday plead guilty to stealing more than $4,200 from her employer Big W late last year, using an elaborate scheme involving gift cards.
Postlethwaite had been caught making 16 fraudulent refund transactions as a means to steal $4247. Police say she would log in to a register and then use her knowledge of the store's system to ‘return’ items she had never purchased.
Postlethwaite would then use the store credit from those returns to buy gift cards, which she then spent on fuel, food and gifts at stores partnered with Big W.
Postlethwaite’s crimes were eventually detected on CCTV footage, leading Big W managers to report her to police.
Pleading guilty to the crimes, the former employee said stole out of need rather than greed after only being able to work reduced hours as she recovered from a fall.
In sentencing the woman, Magistrate Rod Madsen said he found it "staggering” that the woman would violate Big W’s trust in her after so many years of employment. He placed her on three years’ probation, ordered her to carry out 240 hours community service as well as pay back the full amount stolen to Big W’s owners Woolworths.
News of the woman’s crimes hit the local community hard, with many taking to Facebook to speak of the disgraced employee.
Said one: ‘She's one of my regular customers she's like the nicest lady 😮 can't believe what I'm reading 🙈’ Added another: ‘I remember seeing her at that store! She always seemed to be working there....’
Said a third: ‘I guess you never know what goes on behind closed doors hey!’