THEFT: From a $3 pastry to hundreds of dollars worth of fuel, thieves came before the Gympie court.
THEFT: From a $3 pastry to hundreds of dollars worth of fuel, thieves came before the Gympie court. John Weekes

Jail risk for $3 pastry theft, jail reality for fuel

A MAN on parole risked jail - and came close to it on Monday when he faced Gympie Magistrates Court - after he stole a $3 pastry from a supermarket.

But jail was not just a risk for a Chermside man who appeared in court after three days in custody.

In the first case, Amamoor man Michael Joseph Vermeulen, 36, pleaded guilty to stealing the pastry on October 18 and to the "snatch and grab” theft of a money bag containing $220 on February 5 last year.

The court was told Vermeulen was on parole when he stole the pastry.

This was after a suspended sentence had been activated as a result of the money bag theft, which was recorded on CCTV.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan said the $3 theft had nearly cost Vermeulen at least three months in jail while waiting for any parole application to be considered.

Instead he fined Vermeulen $800 and ordered repayment of the $220.

"I'm not going to order you to pay the $3 to Woolworths because it would cost them and the government more than it's worth in processing,” he said.

In the second matter, Christopher Andrew O'Neill received a seven-month suspended sentence for a string of fuel thefts and for misusing a stolen credit card.

The court was told O'Neill stole fuel from service stations at Burpengary, Cooroy and Doonan and then failed to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 18.

He had started the year by stealing a handbag from a disability services volunteer on January 12 and then had fraudulently misused her credit card to buy cigarettes and alcohol.

The offences also breached a $1000 good behaviour bond and were followed by further bail breaches.

O'Neill, 43, pleaded guilty to 14 charges between July 13 last year and last Thursday.

Mr Callaghan sentenced O'Neill to a total of seven months' jail, suspended for two years, taking into account three days already served while awaiting his court appearance.