File photo
File photo

Gympie train masturbator’s crime spree lands him in court

A SERIAL shoplifter banned from Target stores nationwide who risked it all to steal a bag of lollies found himself in front of Gympie Magistrates Court this week.

Chase Shorthouse, 25, was sentenced for several offences including masturbating on a train, shoplifting, stealing and drug possession.

Knowing he had been banned from all Target stores since February for similar offences, on March 18 Shorthouse entered Target Sunshine Plaza, headed to the confectionary aisle and grabbed a bag of lollies and put them in his pocket while walking around the store.

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While being questioned by staff, Shorthouse continuously denied stealing the lollies, until a security guard was called and he pulled the lollies from his pocket.

A month later, at 1:50am on April 13, Shorthouse stole a mattress and protective cover from a stretcher at the Gympie Hospital entrance, and at 8am came back to the hospital seeking treatment, without the items.

Shorthouse, who had several stealing convictions previously, had been banned from all Target stores a month before he was caught stealing at the Sunshine Plaza Target. File photo of a Target store.
Shorthouse, who had several stealing convictions previously, had been banned from all Target stores a month before he was caught stealing at the Sunshine Plaza Target. File photo of a Target store.

Shorthouse claimed he overdosed on Ibuprofen and Nurofen, and did not remember much of what happened but said he wanted to sleep on the mattress, which was later found in a nearby unoccupied residence, owned by the health service and used by doctors.

Later that same day, while on a train from Gympie to Nambour, Shorthouse masturbated while staring at a female passenger.

After the woman boarded the train, Shorthouse asked her for the time and then sat across the aisle from her, staring at her and making her feel uncomfortable.

She said he then put his “hand underneath his shirt, moving in an up and down motion in the area near his crotch” before she heard a zipper being done up.

Shorthouse then moved away, but returned a short time later and sat facing her, and saw him “vigorously touching himself faster and harder” before she confronted him and he moved to another carriage.

After getting off the train the woman reported him to police, who were able to identify him from CCTV footage.

After a woman boarded the train Shorthouse sat in front of her and masturbated while staring at her. File photo
After a woman boarded the train Shorthouse sat in front of her and masturbated while staring at her. File photo

Between then and May, Shorthouse was also charged over stealing a phone and wallet from a woman’s car in Nambour, stealing a chocolate bar from Nightowl Caloundra, stealing clothes from Big W, stealing a drink from Coles Express, stealing sunglasses from Nextra and for possessing marijuana.

Shorthouse appeared from custody in the Gympie Magistrates Court this week and pleaded guilty to all offences.

His lawyer, Chris Anderson, told the court Shorthouse, who continuously interrupted the proceedings, was “by no means a sophisticated person.”

“I had leukaemia at a young age. I had chemotherapy. I lost my mind,” Shorthouse interrupted at one point.

“That’d be a first,” Magistrate Chris Callaghan said.

Mr Anderson said Shorthouse had suffered brain damage, but could not elaborate on how and said he had attended high school until year 11.

“When I asked him what he did after high school he took that very literally and said he went skating after school,” Mr Anderson said.

He said Shorthouse had one job in 2010, but had not worked since then, and had been on a disability support pension before his arrest.

Mr Callaghan gave Shorthouse a head sentence of 12 months with an immediate release date after having served four months in pre-sentence custody.

He was released on parole for eight months.

“If you go on your merry way and go to Target or Coles and take a drink or lolly know it’s not worth it,” Mr Callaghan told him.