JAILED: House cleaner Rachel Girling is behind bars for fraud and theft at Bunnings and Blackwoods.
JAILED: House cleaner Rachel Girling is behind bars for fraud and theft at Bunnings and Blackwoods.

Cleaner ‘dusts’ Bunnings and her employers in $30K thefts

RACHEL Girling looked composed when she pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to ripping off goods and jewellery worth around $30,000.

One woman's summer wardrobe went missing during the off season after employing Girling as a cleaner.

When sentenced to jail an emotional Girling broke down in tearful distress when led from the dock to enter a holding cell.

Rachel Kymberley Girling, 35 from Ripley, pleaded guilty to six charges of stealing when a clerk/servant between July 2018 and February 2019, and between May and June 2019; two counts of fraud at Bunnings in Springfield in March 2019; attempted fraud at Bunnings; possess tainted property; and breach of bail condition.

Police prosecutor Ricky Tsoi said Girling stole goods from Bunnings by using barcodes from cheaper goods at the self-scan check-outs to get goods including a barbecue, table setting, Ryobi pressure cleaner, cordless vacuum cleaners, Nautica blinds, a child safety gate, and an elephant-shaped planter box.

The court heard she was employed as a facilities manager with Blackwoods when she offended against the company.

The value of her offending was $21,430.18 - with Blackwoods losing $10,878. Officeworks was also a victim.

Coles suffered a $470 loss.

The total loss from all offences was $30,382.98 which included thefts when Girling was employed as a domestic cleaner.

"Overall it was unsophisticated but opportunistic. And a gross breach of trust fuelled by greed," Mr Tsoi said.

After being interviewed by police about one lot of offences Girling continued to offend.

Mr Tsoi said five of Girling's victims were people whose houses she cleaned - some in the Ripley area.

Defence lawyer Christy Louden said Girling had mental health issues including anxiety and had a job that involved livestock.

She said there had been "a backlash" on social media against her.

She sought a suspended jail sentence or immediate release to parole.

Girling told her friends and family what she had done and was able to repay $500 from her depleted savings.

She could make payments of $100 weekly if she continued to work although "the likelihood she will lose her employment is quite high", the court heard.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said there were three different groups of offences, the first when employed at Blackwoods.

She said Girling's position was one of trust and involved purchasing and internal transferring of stock.

Ms Sturgess said Girling's activities started slowly and when no one asked questions she began stealing more.

She began taking goods from Bunnings by putting on false barcodes and going through the self-serve check-outs until staff became suspicious.

Ms Sturgess said CCTV revealed the offences.

The 80 items Girling was found with included a whipper snipper, tools, a steam cleaner and a doggie door.

Ms Sturgess noted in an interview Girling said she couldn't believe how easy it had been and sold many items online.

While working as a house cleaner she stole jewellery and goods.

One woman discovered most of her summer wardrobe had been stolen from her walk-in robe after she saw a warning on Facebook about a cleaner's activities.

Ms Sturgess said it was sad precious jewellery including wedding and engagement rings had not been found - one woman losing handbags and jewellery valued at $3222. Another lost jewellery valued at $5180.

"Around $30,000 in value so it was not one-off offending," she said.

"It's been a persistent course of conduct with multiple victims. Even changing the method of offending.

"You told police you were very sorry but it did not stop you."

Ms Sturgess said a letter (to the court) indicated Girling witnessed her father stealing from others, saying that she "only stole from privileged people".

Ms Sturgess took exception to that saying she did not know how hard people had to work to buy these items and jewellery.

Girling was sentenced to two years jail and ordered to serve eight months before given parole. The remainder of the sentence then suspended for three years.

She was ordered to pay $10,878 restitution to Blackwoods. And $10,082 to Office Works, and $470 to Coles.

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