Jennifer Armstrong, a 44-year-old woman from Ireland, is considered by many the country’s most prolific petty criminal, with a record of 648 convictions.
Armstrong recently made headlines in her home country, after showing up in front of a judge for trying to steal a bottle of wine while intoxicated just two days after being released from a 16-month prison sentence. Among her many past offences, the 44-year-old was convicted for crimes like stealing from and harassing people around Dublin city centre, assault and public intoxication. During her latest visit in court, the serial thief asked the judge for “one last chance”, and managed to leave with a suspended six-month sentence.
The serial thief’s lawyer told the court that his client had lived a tragic life that involved “horrendous poverty” and “substance abuse”. She had at one point been addicted to both heroin and cocaine, but miraculously managed to get off both drugs only to develop alcohol problems. She is currently homeless, and despite several attempts to turn her life around, he somehow finds herself walking the only path she knows.
The woman’s 648th conviction came as a result of her attempt to steal an €8 bottle of wine by placing it under her jumper. She was reportedly intoxicated at the time, which Judge Carol Anne Coolican found odd, as Armstrong claimed she didn’t have any money at the time. Still, the judge showed leniency, asking the petty criminal to engage with support services rather than putting her in prison again.
Forty-four-year-old Armstrong has spent a total of 27 years behind bar. Of her 648 recorded convictions, 88 were for theft and 216 were for public intoxication.
Six hundred and forty-eight convictions sounds like a lot, but it’s still 20 short of the record set by Britain’s most prolific petty criminal, who last year racked up his 668th conviction. Maybe these two are in a race.