Fuel thief caught on cross-country roadtrip
HAVING his money stolen was no deterrent for Leonard Mitsopoulos, as he attempted to drive from the Northern Territory home to New South Wales.
Instead, he pulled registration plates off another car, and performed a number of fuel drive offs in Queensland before he was intercepted by Charleville police.
Appearing in Charleville Magistrates Court on Monday, January 20, the Magistrate reprimanded Mitsopoulos for his expensive and illegal road trip.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Boodnikoff told the court at 11am on December 16, 2019, police had been conducting patrols on the highway when they noticed a car with Northern Territory plates.
Suspicions were raised when they noticed Mitsopoulos had a New South Wales licence.
Checks on the registration plates revealed they were not only from another vehicle, but had been sited in two different fuel drive off - the first being in Cloncurry the previous day, the second from Tambo on December 16.
Upon searching the car, police located two jerry cans, a small set of scales, a small quantity of marijuana, and the car’s original NSW plates.
He admitted to police he had taken the plates to perform fuel drive offs after his money was stolen before he began his interstate trek back home.
Mitsopoulos’ lawyer, Frank Jongkind, said he needed to leave the territory, and had come up with the idea to stage fuel drive offs after his money was stolen.
“In December, while visiting a friend, he had his money stolen and was intimidated, and he decided he had to leave,” Mr Jongkind said.
Magistrate Saggers issued one $1000 fine for all six offences, with no conviction recorded. He was also ordered to pay compensation to fuel stations in Cloncurry and Tambo.