Serial shoplifter convicted for 19th time

A Bloekombos mother of four has been convicted of shoplifting for the 19th time and sentenced to three years effective imprisonment.

Ntomboxolo Ndengane, 42, wearing a red top and blue jeans, wept silently and stared straight ahead, as magistrate Amanda Appelgryn read out her sentence in the packed B court room at Kuils River Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday October 19.

Before handing down judgment, Magistrate Appelgryn rejected Ms Ndengane’s mitigating circumstances for a lighter sentence – including being the main breadwinner of four children, aged 2, 14, 15 and 21, whose three fathers abandoned them, and her disabled sister.

Prosecutor Nicolene Geering said Ms Ndengane, who had also been convicted for another theft case earlier this month, deserved a harsh sentence, as she had been convicted multiple times previously for shoplifting and once for assault.

The magistrate said she would not give Ms Ndengane a fine or a suspended sentence because she had had “numerous chances”. Magistrate Appelgryn said that because of people like Ms Ndengane, customers suffered inflated prices because shops had to pay for better security.

“This court sits with a history of your shoplifting convictions. The community has direct interest in this case and its outcomes. Shops and their customers have suffered,” Magistrate Appelgryn said.

According to court documents, Ms Ndengane’s theft history spans 12 years, with her first conviction in 2004.

In October 2005, she was sentenced to 90 days in prison for theft, but paid the fine of R1 000 instead. In November 2012, Ms Ndengane was sentenced for theft to three years, which were suspended on condition she did not get another conviction on the same charge within the period of suspension.

The rest of her convictions were fines, suspended sentences and warnings.

She has stolen in shops in Table View, Bellville, Wynberg, Athlone, Claremont, Vredenberg, Kraaifontein, Wynberg, Worcester and the city centre, where she was caught and convicted three times.