An elderly woman who admitted stealing flowers from a stranger’s yard in Queanbeyan has had her charge dismissed, with her lawyer saying “she never should have been charged in the first place”.
A security camera filmed 83-year-old Anka Popovich walking up the woman’s driveway at around 3 am on Australia Day 2023 and cutting a large number of fully grown flowers from a hedge before putting them into a bag and leaving, court documents say.
The flowers included ‘City of Newcastle’ roses, which are worth around $10 each.
Police officers stopped Ms Popovich on the street the next month and saw she had a large number of flowers hidden by a blanket in her pram.
When the Queanbeyan resident was shown a photo from the security camera and asked if it was her, she replied, “Yeah, I pinched this”, and told the officers she sells flowers for $5 a bunch.
“The accused showed little to no remorse when made aware of the distress her actions have caused local garden owners,” police said in the documents.
“Police are aware that many other residents nearby to Campbell Street in Queanbeyan have also been impacted by the accused’s actions over a prolonged period of time.”
The officers seized the flowers she had with her, suspecting they were unlawfully obtained.
Ms Popovich pleaded guilty to a charge of destroying or damaging part of a plant with the intent to steal on Monday (20 March), but while Queanbeyan Local Court Magistrate Roger Clisdell found her guilty of the office, she avoided a conviction as he ultimately dismissed her charge.
Afterwards, her lawyer, Carley Hitchins from Aulich, remarked it was a “good outcome”.
“She never should have been charged in the first place. Public resources could have been used in a far better way,” she said.
“She was happy to have it over and done with; it was very stressful for her.”