Teen owns up and curbs crime spree

A GYMPIE teenager has been ordered to do 160 hours of community service for his part in a two-person crime spree that impacted on several small businesses around town.

James Scott Hayes, 17, was arrested by police in Mary St on May 10 on suspicion of a spate of break-ins around Gympie between November 2010 and May this year.

He refused to be questioned by police and was released but returned voluntarily to own up to his part in the break and enters.

Hayes said he had been the “lookout” for a number of break-ins around town and had only a vague recollection of the businesses he and an accomplice had targeted.

Police drove Hayes around town so he could point out the business premises that had been broken into with his involvement.

The first was Mary St cafe Jule’s Inn which Hayes and another male forced open a wooden door to get inside. Hayes said they couldn’t locate anything to steal, but the repair bill was $150.

The second location was the Department of Health in the hospital complex in Alfred St. Hayes said he waited outside as a lookout while his accomplice broke into the third floor and scribbled on the walls with crayon on March 15.

On April 5, Hayes crouched under a bush to keep lookout while the Endeavour Foundation on Glasgow St was broken into and $55 petty cash taken.

On April 8, Jeffco Containers on River Rd was hit while Hayes stood in Memorial Park acting as the lookout. Fifteen dollars in cash was taken from the cash register as well as a citrine stone worth $10.

Cafe Sunshine on Mary was the next small business to suffer. Hayes watched while his accomplice tore through a fly screen and removed and broke 10 glass louvres to get inside the Mary St building from Reef St.

The cash register was smashed and more than $500 was stolen as well as two cartons of soft drink. The total cost of the damage and theft was $1570.

On May 5 Hayes was also involved in breaking into Watson’s Marine by forcing open the office door and stealing $3200 from the till.

Hayes appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court charged with five counts of break and enter to commit and indictable offence and one lesser charge of break and enter with intent.

Magistrate John Parker said it was the 17-year-old’s last chance and placed Hayes on 18 months probation.

Hayes was given 12 months to do the community service.