Woman steals wallet from under pew while victim attends church, court hears

A 41-year-old Ballarat woman with 70 pages of criminal prior convictions has been sent to prison after stealing credit cards and using them to buy alcohol, cigarettes and phone credit. 

Farnaz Razavishafa was convicted and jailed for three months on Tuesday after pleading guilty to a number of dishonesty and theft matters.

The Ballarat Magistrates Court heard Razavishafa stole a purse from under a pew at a local church in April, later using the stolen credit card to buy $546 worth of alcohol, smokes and phone credit.

A month later she stole another credit card from a local restaurant employee while he worked and bought more than $400 worth of items.

The court also heard on two separate occasions she broke the windows of two houses.

The woman's lawyer, Manny Brennan, told the court his client was released from prison in February and remained homeless until May.

He said Razavishafa had schizoaffective disorder and often found herself marginalised in the community, which pushed her into drug use. 

Mr Brennan said Razavishafa committed crimes to fund her on again, off again drug use.

Magistrate Robert Kumar told Razavishafa she could not keep offending.

"I have to impose a term of imprisonment, I can't see any other alternative," he said.

Read more stories from the Ballarat Magistrates Court here.