Five people fronted Proserpine Magistrates Court this week for taking items from businesses.
Five people fronted Proserpine Magistrates Court this week for taking items from businesses.

Bizarre items 5 light-fingered thieves stole in Whitsundays

Stacey Lee Beplate Price

A mother of two admitted to taking a key safe from Porters Mitre 10 in Proserpine and attempted to give back the item in court.

Stacey Lee Beplate Price was captured on CCTV in September putting the item in her bag before leaving the store.

The 35-year-old Cannonvale mum pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised dealing with shop goods.

Lawyer Barbara Mendelsohn told Proserpine Magistrates Court Price was not in a good place when she took the key safe.

"She admits she was associating with the wrong people who were influencing her in negative ways," Ms Mendelsohn said.

The court heard Price had since distanced herself from those people.

The Cannonvale woman brought the key safe with her to court to return, but the prosecution did not accept the item.

She was placed on 12 months' probation for the theft, as well as other offences, and ordered to pay $34.99 restitution to the store.

No conviction was recorded.

Stacey Lee Beplate Price.
Stacey Lee Beplate Price.

Danni Maree Rowan

A Cannonvale woman told the Proserpine Magistrates Court she got drunk and passed out after stealing a bottle of Grey Goose from a bottle shop in September.

Danni Maree Rowan pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised dealing with shop goods when she fronted the magistrate.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jay Merchant told the court Rowan was seen on CCTV from BWS in Cairns with a man.

Sgt Merchant said Rowan, 28, took the one litre bottle of vodka from the shelf and went into the cold room, where she passed the bottle to the man who then took the security cap off and put it in a bag.

They then left the store.

 

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The court heard when Rowan was questioned by police she was abusive, highly uncooperative and insulting towards officers.

Rowan told the court she had previously worked at Fish D'Vine before stopping to have two children.

"I didn't walk into the store intending to steal it," Rowan said.

When Magistrate James Morton asked Rowan what happened after she took the liquor, she admitted she got drunk and passed out.

Mr Morton said the plan was "doomed to fail from the beginning" because there was CCTV footage capturing everything.

Rowan was fined $350 and a conviction was recorded.

 

Benjamin John Opie

A high school teacher says he's embarrassed by his behaviour after he stole an eftpos machine from an Airlie Beach nightclub.

Benjamin John Opie, 36, was at Mama Africa in January when he was seen on CCTV footage walking past the bar before taking the eftpos machine.

Proserpine Magistrates Court heard he then put it under his shirt and walked out onto the street.

Benjamin John Opie.
Benjamin John Opie.

Opie, who teaches high school students at the Gold Coast, told the court he understood his actions were stupid and he did not take the machine for financial gain.

"I'm equally as embarrassed because of my profession and position in the community," he said.

Opie pleaded guilty to one count of stealing and was fined $350 with no conviction recorded.

The court heard he had given the machine back to police and apologised.

Magistrate James Morton told Opie alcohol made him behave stupidly.

"There's nothing funny about stealing anything from anywhere," Mr Morton said.

 

William John Berry

A lifelong builder has fronted court after he accidentally walked out of Bunnings with a tape measure on his belt.

William John Berry was seen on CCTV footage walking into Bunnings in November.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jay Merchant told Proserpine Magistrates Court the footage showed Berry looking at items on shelves before clipping the tape measure to his belt.

 

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The Cannonvale man then went to the register to pay for other items and left the store.

Berry told the court he took the tape measure unintentionally and had apologised for his actions.

He pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised dealing with shop goods.

Magistrate James Morton said the 63-year-old man otherwise lived an "exemplary life" so he was ordered to pay $27.16 restitution and fined $100 with no conviction recorded.

 

Mark Stephen Piper

A 55-year-old man tried to steal speakers from two different shops in the one day but was busted both times.

Mark Stephen Piper first entered Harvey Norman in Cannonvale with a woman in November.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jay Merchant alleged the woman put a speaker in Piper's backpack, which he was aware of.

Sgt Merchant said the Cannonvale man was then seen grabbing a bluetooth adaptor.

When spoken to by the manager, Piper returned the items and told police he knew taking them was wrong.

But on the same day, Sgt Merchant claimed the woman again put a speaker and cable, this time from Big W, in Piper's bag.

 

Offenders front court in Proserpine each week on a range of different charges.
Offenders front court in Proserpine each week on a range of different charges.

The court heard a member of the public told Piper to return the items and then alerted a staff member to his theft.

Piper again returned the items.

Sgt Merchant said the first items cost $413.95 and the second theft amounted to $120, but no restitution was sought because he had given the items back.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing when he fronted court.

Lawyer Elizabeth Smith, for Piper, said he was a full-time carer and also suffered from mental health challenges as well as an acquired brain injury.

The court heard Piper had limited memory of the thefts but accepted that he admitted to the crimes to police.

Ms Smith said Piper was the one with the backpack, rather than the one taking the items from shelves.

Piper was fined $350 with convictions recorded.


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