Gumtree ad test ride turns police manhunt
A FATHER escaped from a police car and into bushland after he was arrested for stealing a motorbike under the guise of a test ride days earlier.
Zachariah Thomas Matheson Stewart, 24, had responded to a "for sale" ad on Gumtree in late March, but the owner called police when he never returned the Honda motorcycle.
Police prosecutor Stuart Lydford told Maroochydore Magistrates Court police spotted Matheson Stewart wearing a helmet, standing beside the bike with another man in Cooroy on March 29.
The numberplates had been swapped.
Senior Constable Lydford told the court Matheson Stewart was arrested and put in the police vehicle, but he reached through the perspex partition, wound down his window and opened the door from the the outside.
Snr Const Lydford told the court the dog squad and backup officers were called to search the bushland where he fled, but Matheson Stewart was not found until April 10, when officers busted him hiding in a Eudlo home's bathroom.
Matheson Stewart claimed he escaped to return to and care for his young daughter.
Officers had found the motorcycle with Matheson Stewart's wallet and identification in the compartment a week earlier.
On Monday, Matheson Stewart pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody, unlawful use of the motorcycle and driving while his licence was SPER suspended.
The court heard Matheson Stewart had an "extensive" traffic history, which included driving unlicensed in 2015 and 2017.
On Monday, he was sentenced to six months' jail with immediate parole, fined $500 for driving unlicensed and his licence was disqualified for one month.
Snr Const Lydford told the court the defendant had previously spent almost one year behind bars awaiting sentence for an unrelated offence, and was released on a suspended sentence last year.
He will front District Court at a later date as these offences breached that sentence.