A FORMER Australia Post employee who “blacked out and scorched” the names of addressees on letters she stole was fined $1800 in Mandurah Magistrates Court this morning.
Waroona resident 54-year-old Linda Terese Coote pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing as a servant.
Coote’s role was to deliver mail and parcels in Lake Clifton, Preston Beach and Hamel.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Mick Fallows said Coote selected a parcel from a section of the storage room on February 8 at 6am, where the parcels were kept for in-person customer collection.
Coote took one particular parcel, containing a CCTV security system, and placed it among the other sorted mail due for delivery on the day.
Police said Coote removed the parcel at 8.30am that same day and walked towards Millar Street.
Between February 8-12, the rightful owner of the parcel went to collect in-person at the post office and it was found stolen.
Sgt Fallows said police attended Coote’s home in Waroona on February 12 where Coote made a full admission and said she took the parcel because “she needed a CCTV system for her house”.
Coote told police she thought the theft was “too easy” and disposed of the parcel in a large industrial bin near Waroona IGA. The item was never recovered.
During the same visit to Coote’s Waroona home on February 12, police found unopened letters addressed to people living in Lake Clifton, Preston Beach and Hamel, as well as three parcels missing their original contents.
The names of the addressees on the letters were “blacked out and slightly burnt and scorched”.
Coote told police she stole the parcels because no one lived at the addresses, took them home and disposed of their contents.
Coote’s actions were captured on CCTV footage.
Defence lawyer Fabian Ponton said Coote could not explain why she did it but her brain had “snapped”.
He said Coote was going through stress in her life at the time of the incidents.
Mr Ponton said part of the reason Coote disposed of the CCTV camera was because “guilt overtook”.
Coote asked for a spent conviction order on the two offences so she could travel to America without any issues.
Magistrate Anne Longden said Coote committed acts of “repeated dishonesty”.
“You covered the names of things owned by other people and burnt and scorched things – it’s concerning you can offer no explanation,” she said.
Ms Longden said Coote’s offences were a “breach of trust” and “affected the wider community” and fined her $1800.
She denied Coote a spent conviction order because she was retired, the offences were serious and she had no explanation for her actions.