Elyse Elizabeth Wilson (34) appeared in Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to theft in a special relationship.
She requested release without conviction in March, citing possible problems finding jobs in the future, but was denied by Judge Michael Turner.
He dismissed the request as speculative and stressed that the court should not hide relevant information from future employers.
Wilson had been employed by a catering company for four years when the culinary scam began.
His role consisted of taking orders, entering files into the computer system, generating invoices and arranging deliveries to customers.
On August 6 last year, the court heard, she arranged for 40kg of meat – worth over $1,000 – to be delivered to a central Dunedin bar.
She met the driver on site and helped unload the goods.
But the meat never arrived inside the premises.
Wilson simply loaded it into his car and drove it away.
A week later, she repeated the ruse at the same location with loot worth nearly $7,000.
His greed brought about his downfall.
A few minutes after the truck left, Wilson called the driver to let him know he was missing a box, so he came back to drop it off.
When he arrived he saw the defendant carrying the meat from the back of the bar to her car across the road, the court heard.
On September 17, the company called the police.
Officers found six large slices of meat worth $600 in Wilson’s car.
She admitted to stealing more than $14,500 worth of meat in total, saying she did it to help family and friends and saying she did not profit from the crimes.
Judge Turner said he found that explanation “difficult to accept” given the scale of the theft.
Lawyer Deborah Henderson said Wilson had since found full-time employment, which was guaranteed until April next year, and had saved $800 to repay his former employer.
She was sentenced to six months house arrest and ordered to repay the remaining $13,780 at $100 a week.