Man steals axe, slashes trees in bizarre Bunnings incident
BUNNINGS staff were caught off guard when they confronted a man who had stolen an axe and started slashing away at trees outside the store.
An Ipswich court on Tuesday heard Nicholas Kent never intended to hurt anyone, and claimed he was acting out of boredom.
The bizarre incident, most likely triggered by Kent overdosing on prescription medication, was witnessed by an off-duty police officer.
Nicholas Justin Kent, 35, from Booval, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to stealing a $64.95 axe and $49 torch from Bunnings at Bundamba on September 2; and going armed to cause fear.
Kent also pleaded guilty to unrelated domestic violence offences, and to breaching his bail.
Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Caldwell said Kent went into Bunnings at 1.30pm and selected an axe and a torch, secreting both down the front of his pants.
An off-duty police officer saw him acting suspiciously and alerted staff who realised he had stolen the goods.
Police were called when Kent began walking around the car park brandishing the axe, watched by the two female Bunnings employees and the off duty officer.
"He was swinging the axe, chopping at trees," Sgt Caldwell said.
"The staff say they were fearful that he may assault them.
"He was chopping into trees and they called triple-0. They were worried what he may do with the axe.
"Police arrived and saw the staff pointing, he was wielding the axe.
"He ran from the police. They found him hiding under a tree in the garden bed."
Sgt Caldwell said Kent admitted stealing the axe, telling police he was bored.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said Kent's "somewhat bizarre behaviour with an axe" was the result of him taking an overdose of prescribed medication for mental health issues.
"He'd simply taken too many," he said.
"He was not using any illicit substances."
At the time of offending Kent was also subject to a suspended jail sentence for other matters.
Magistrate Donna MacCallum sentenced Kent to a six-month jail term for stealing the axe and torch; and going armed to cause fear.
He received 14 days jail for his breach of bail. Kent was given immediate parole.