Man who ‘lost everything’ stole to avoid Centrelink shame
A MAN who stole hundreds of dollars worth of petrol and a licence plate belonging to the Transport Department says he did it to avoid the shame of having to go on Centrelink.
Eugene Paul Underdown, 54, pleaded guilty to several charges including theft, fraud, failure to appear in court, driving with no licence and possessing a pipe used to smoke a dangerous drug.
On December 13 last year, Underdown stole the front number plate of a vehicle belonging to the Transport Department, and attached it to his own car in order to steal $215.46 worth of fuel from BP Noosaville.
On December 23, he again switched his number plates to the stolen ones and went to Caltex Tewantin, where he stole $200.57 worth of fuel.
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On January 9, this year, he went to 7/11 Noosaville, and after filling up with $177.54 he told the attendant he had forgotten his wallet and would be back soon with money, then never returned.
Later in January he stole another $195.38 from Goomboorian Matilda.
On January 10, police found him on Gympie Terrace at Noosa driving without a licence, and a search of his vehicle uncovered the stolen number plates and a pipe used to smoke a dangerous drug, which he said belonged to a friend.
Underdown was taken to Noosa Police Station where he admitted to living in his car, and had stolen the number plates to avoid being caught stealing the fuel.
Defence lawyer Chris Anderson said the behaviour was "out of character" for his client, who had "lost everything in the last 18 months".
Mr Anderson said he had resorted to the theft after refusing to go on Centrelink payments out of pride.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan said Underdown's offences were made more serious by his "pre-planning", and said he seemed to have no regard for the laws of the land.
He fined Underdown $788.95 in restitution for the stolen fuel and he was released on a six month suspended sentence.