A Mackay father of five stole $2500 worth of items from Bunnings at Paget.
A Mackay father of five stole $2500 worth of items from Bunnings at Paget.

Financial distress led to father’s $2500 stealing shame

A father of five told a court he was struggling financially when he stole a vacuum and tools from Bunnings worth more than $2500.

And adding to his run of bad luck, when police searched his home for the stolen goods, officers found marijuana plants.

On October 18, 2020 Luke Stanley Cholava parked his ute at Bunnings in Paget for a spot of shopping.

He selected and paid for a number of items, excluding a $1119 vacuum that he also placed in his vehicle and drove off.

Mackay Magistrates Court heard about a week later, on October 26, he did the exact same thing - selecting and paying for a number of items, excluding two nine-piece toolkits worth $699 each.

Luke Stanley Cholava pleaded guilty to stealing $2500 worth of items from Bunnings at Paget.
Luke Stanley Cholava pleaded guilty to stealing $2500 worth of items from Bunnings at Paget.

 

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Prosecutor Rob Beamish said police went to his home on November 25 and found the toolkit bags after matching Cholava's ute to the one in CCTV footage captured at Bunnings.

During a search of the man's home, officers also found 11 marijuana plants.

Cholava told officers he was growing the drugs for his own personal use. He admitted he smoked marijuana for pain management because legal painkillers failed to work.

The 45 year old pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing and one count of producing dangerous drugs. The court heard the tools had been returned but the vacuum was not.

Defence solicitor Geoff Govey, of Taylors Solicitors, said his client was a father of five and the sole carer for his three youngest children.

Unable to work because of his parental commitments, he was on the single parent benefit, the court heard.

The 45-year-old father of five was growing marijuana plants for his own use to help with pain management.
The 45-year-old father of five was growing marijuana plants for his own use to help with pain management.

 

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Mr Govey said his client was embarrassed about the charges, adding Cholava had been under a lot of financial difficulty at the time.

Mr Govey said Cholava had no Queensland criminal history - he asked for no convictions recorded and a modest fine.

Acting Magistrate John Aberdeen accepted this was not Cholava's usual conduct but said he could not continue to use marijuana unless it was medically prescribed.

"You present as an unusual case with respect to sentencing, usually people who come before the court with this type of property and this value of property have been here before," Mr Aberdeen said.

"You haven't."

Mr Aberdeen found there was nothing suggesting an ongoing criminal lifestyle.

As a result Cholava was placed on nine months probation and convictions were not recorded.

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