‘TEMPTATION TOO MUCH‘: Burnett thief buys TV with stolen $1500
CHRISTMAS nearly came early for a Kingaroy thief who used stolen money to buy a brand new 65 inch Samsung Smart TV at Harvey Norman.
Unfortunately for Robert Cooper Stephens-Pugh, he was caught in the act on CCTV footage and now has to pay restitution to both Harvey Norman and the man he stole from.
Stephens-Pugh pleaded guilty to one count of stealing, one count of possessing drug utensils and one count of fraud at Kingaroy Magistrates Court.
The court heard on Saturday, May 16 a man was at the Telstra Shop in Kingaroy when an envelope with '$2500' written on it fell out of his pocket.
The envelope contained $1500 and at 1.18pm the envelope was captured on CCTV falling out of his pocket.
At 2.25pm Stephens-Pugh entered the Telstra Shop and sat in the same booth where the envelope was on the floor.
The customer service manager went to get a Telstra WI-FI modem and when he returned noticed the envelope and asked Stephens-Pugh if it was his, before Stephens-Pugh looked inside and claimed the envelope was his before he left.
Stephens-Pugh then attended Harvey Norman in Kingaroy where he proceeded to use $1050 of cash and $430 on a card to buy a Samsung Smart TV.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Pepe Gangemi said police executed a search warrant where they uncovered the TV bought with stolen money.
"Police located the Telstra shop WI-FI booster receipt, the Harvey Norman receipt for the 65 inch Samsung smart TV, the drivers licence, the TV was seized, the white envelope with $2500 written on the front of it and the water pipe subject to the drugs charge, which he said his mother used to smoke cannabis," Sen Sgt Gangemi said.
"Ultimately we are looking at $1050 restitution for Harvey Norman, they are returning the stolen money so they need restitution of $1050 and $450 for the victim."
Stephens-Pugh, who represented himself in court admitted to picking up the envelope, however said the amount of money in the envelope was significantly less than $1500.
"If the TV cost that much, why would I use $1050 and then put the TV on a bank card," Stephens-Pugh questioned.
"This has been a terrible mix up and an unfortunate situation for everyone involved."
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair said he took into account the guilty plea.
"You have effectively pleaded guilty to stealing by finding. You didn't go looking for this money, it was literally dropped into your hands and the temptation was a little too much," Magistrate Sinclair said.
"I am going to order you to pay compensation to the people who made losses as a result. That has some deterrent effect on you as you have effectively cost yourself the value of the item.
"I will allow you to pay restitution off over time and while doing that it will serve as a further deterrent not to commit further offences."
Stephens-Pugh was ordered to pay $1050 in restitution to Harvey Norman as they returned the money to police and were out of pocket the retail value of the TV.
He was ordered to pay $450 to the victim who dropped his envelope in the Telstra Shop.
Stephens-Pugh was also released on a six month good behaviour bond of $500.
No convictions were recorded.