By Delon Shurtz
Southern Alberta Newspapers
A former Raymond woman narrowly avoided jail after being caught stealing prescription drugs from the town’s Pharmasave.
Tiffany Joy Hood pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court to theft under $5,000. And while the judge was inclined at first to send her to jail, he ultimately agreed with a joint submission by the Crown and defence counsels for a lesser penalty.
Hood, 36, stole 45 drug prescriptions from Raymond Pharmasave between January 2013 and May 2014, Crown prosecutor Bill Wister explained.
He told court once the woman had a prescription filled, she would leave the store without paying. The extent of her thefts came to light after staff checked the history of Hood’s transactions at the store and realized of the 53 prescriptions filled over the 14 months, she only paid for eight of them. The value of the stolen drugs totalled about $1,400.
While Wister suggested there may be several underlying issues, including a drug addiction, that led Hood to steal the drugs, defence lawyer Brett Carlson said alcohol and her former spouse may also have been a factor. That relationship has since ended and Hood has moved to another town, but Carlson noted her spouse was the sole provider for the family, which includes two young children.
“She has a lot of things she needs to deal with,” Carlson said.
He assured the judge Hood would never again be in court on criminal charges.
Judge Gregory Maxwell noted that because Hood “made a number of bad decisions” and repeatedly took advantage of the pharmacy, he was prepared to send her to jail. But when he learned of her personal circumstances, he agreed with a recommendation by the Crown and defence for a suspended sentence and probation for a year, during which Hood must take counselling and treatment for life skills and substance abuse.
Maxwell warned her, however, that any further thefts would be treated harshly.