Alcoholic causes mass damage in business crime blitz
A FORMER youth worker and volunteer who burgled a string of Sunshine Coast businesses caused $15,800 in damages and losses in his attempts to steal property and cash.
Christopher Daniel Romero targeted Noosa stores Coconut Head and the Boardwalk Bistro, Yandina's Goodness Gracious Organic Café and All Coast Tyres, Humdrum Espresso in Eumundi, Peregian Beach Hotel, the Novotel Twin Waters Resort and the Phoenix Hotel in Gympie.
He also entered and attempted to enter homes.
Romero, 30, pleaded guilty to break and enters and stealing offences at these locations on sporadic dates during a crime spree from November 2018 to June this year, with the bulk of crimes committed in May.
He entered guilty pleas to 30 offences when he appeared in custody before Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Lawyer Lachlan Ygoa-McKeown told the court Romero was a father, a former United Care youth worker, a volunteer Street Angel and Eumundi Wildlife carer, and had worked in horticulture, landscaping and mining.
Mr Ygoa-McKeown said Romero was a self-confessed alcoholic and was intoxicated when he committed his crimes.
Police prosecutor Stuart Lydford told the court Romero was arrested in May and bailed to a residential rehabilitation facility for his alcoholism, but he left the facility three weeks later and committed a string of PayWave fraud offences.
Sergeant Lydford told the court Romero caused $7000 in damages, stole about $9000 worth of cash and property and also had a stolen vehicle worth $28,000, which was returned in the exact same condition.
Sergeant Lydford said Romero stole money and cigarettes from a mother holidaying at the Twin Waters Novotel Resort.
Her victim's impact statement said she had saved for six months and Romero's actions had ruined their holiday and deprived her children a visit to the zoo.
Magistrate Christopher Callaghan sentenced Romero to two years' jail to serve eight months before parole release on February 16, 2020.
He was also disqualified from driving for three months for drink driving. Romero was not ordered to pay any restitution to the victims.