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How the $4500 self-service scam came undone

Kylie Milner stole $4500 in groceries from self-serve check-outs in an elaborate barcode scam.
Kylie Milner stole $4500 in groceries from self-serve check-outs in an elaborate barcode scam.

A SUPERMARKET manager began the unravelling of a Queensland mum's elaborate, month-long self-serve swindle, when sales of 72c noodle packets suddenly skyrocketed.

Court documents have revealed the extent of Ipswich woman Kylie Milner's self-serve scam, three days after she received a suspended jail sentence when she admitted she stole $4500 in groceries from supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.

Ms Milner's somewhat labour-intensive plot involved photocopying barcodes from 65c and 72c packets of two minute noodles onto sticky labels, which she then affixed to more expensive supermarket items that she scanned through the self-serve check-outs.

Among the items court documents revealed she stole were more than 30 slabs of meat, a set of sheets, dishwashing tablets and two coffee pod machines each valued at nearly $200.

Her month-long scam began to unravel when supermarket managers realised they were suddenly selling an inordinately high number of two minute noodles.

 

A customer uses a self-serve checkout at a Coles.
A customer uses a self-serve checkout at a Coles. Mark Scott

The court heard she was also often seen to be unusually nervous while scanning her items at the check-outs.

Ms Milner, a single mum the court heard was financially strapped, admitted to shopping with the fraudulent barcodes on 31 occasions.

She further admitted to three aborted attempts.

In court documents obtained by the Daily Mail, it was revealed her scam was finally foiled on September 18 last year, when a Woolworths employee confronted her at the checkout.

Court documents said Ms Milner told the employee she "forgot her wallet" and fled the store.

She left behind three packets of lamb cutlets, one packet of bacon and some Glen 20 disinfectant.

It was Ms Milner's second attempt to go through self-serve after the supermarket manager had earlier spoken to her at the check-outs.

She claimed she forgot something and returned to the supermarket aisles, the police facts state.

But the suspicious woman stayed at the check-outs, awaiting Ms Milner's return.

The Woolworths encounter came just three days after she was nearly busted at a nearby Coles.
 

She scanned a $27.61 rump roast with one of her fake barcodes when a worker noticed, court papers said.

The staff member voided the sale and Ms Milner pleaded ignorance.

She scanned her FlyBuys card and walked out. Police soon after traced her bank card and were granted a warrant.

The 35-year-old's father said she was in "dire financial straits" when she hatched the fraudulent scheme.

"She's a different person now. She has turned her life around," her father said.

Character references submitted to the court gave further insight into why Ms Milner came up with the plan.

"All her problems started when her husband walked out on her and left her with a mortgage (and) a mountain of debt and left her to raise their daughter on their own," her sister Michelle said.

"She is really trying to turn her life around."

Her sister-in-law Lisa said "she made some very bad decisions at a time of desperation" and was a "beautiful, loving, caring, good individual who just made some wrong choices in life".

She said Ms Milner was a very private person who never wanted to burden her family "so she chose to try and do things on her own".

Ms Milner has so far declined to comment.

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