Computer for cask wine trade ends in jail sentence

A CHRONIC alcoholic's personable nature ultimately brought him undone after he was arrested for stealing computers from JB Hi-Fi.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Tim Hutton yesterday told Toowoomba Magistrates Court that Gary Kenneth Makins had spoken at length with staff at the Margaret St store, giving them his correct name and telling his life story.

Snr Const. Hutton said the 39-year-old had gone as far as to try to add the store's manager to his Facebook friend list.

The level of familiarity made it easy for staff to identify a man who on Monday was caught on camera about 10.05am stealing a tablet computer.

Snr Const. Hutton said Makins returned to the store about 2.45pm the same day to remove a security device from a laptop computer before taking it with him.

Defence solicitor Brad Skuse said the promise of alcohol was his client's motivation to steal.

Mr Skuse said Makins had earlier met a man who was drinking cask wine in public.

He said his client and the man came to an arrangement whereby if Makins stole a computer from JB Hi-Fi, the man would give some of his wine.

The reason his client returned a second time was because he had initially stolen the wrong type of computer.

Ultimately, according to the defence, Makins did not get the wine he sought.

"The other person didn't hold up his end of the bargain," Mr Skuse said.

He said staff later recognised Makins and he voluntarily gave back the tablet computer he had earlier stolen.

Snr Const. Hutton said Makins was in custody on Thursday when a search of property found the missing laptop as well as jackets and perfume stolen from Myer and Chemist Warehouse.

The court heard Makins, from Longreach, had been trying to catch a bus to his home town.

But his state of intoxication had repeatedly led to bus company staff denying him travel.

"He still intends to get on the bus at some stage," Mr Skuse said.

Magistrate Graham Lee noted Makins had spent a night in custody before his court appearance.

He sentenced him to two months in prison, wholly suspended for 12 months.



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