ROBBED: Beach goers keys were stolen and vehicles robbed in a three-month crime spree.
ROBBED: Beach goers keys were stolen and vehicles robbed in a three-month crime spree. John McCutcheon

Three-month stealing spree funds $2k a week meth habit

A THREE-month-long crime spree that left beach-goers reeling, home owners afraid and businesses out of pocket has ended in jail.

Glen Ross Kringle turned to a life of crime after an injury put an end to his job as a scaffolder, his relationship broke down and his methamphetamine addiction took hold, a court has heard.

From December to February the 38-year-old drug addict was prowling Sunshine Coast beaches, watching where beach-goers stashed their car keys then robbing their vehicles.

He broke into businesses through windows and stole cash, and entered homes through windows, stealing paddleboards, surf kites, iPads and wallets; he broke the lock on a community garden shed and stole power tools.

"On two occasions he used a key the owners had left on the wheel while they went surfing to steal cash and goods from the cars," legal officer Beth Kennedy told Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

"On three occasions the defendant stole from bags and towels on the beach; on one of those occasions the victim was sleeping nearby.

"And on another the defendant stole keys which he later used to steal a vehicle and drive it for a few days before returning it to the same spot, undamaged."

The court was told his string of crimes, committed to feed his $2000 a week drug habit, left residents feeling unsafe in their own homes and sun seekers afraid to go back to the beach.

One of Kringle's victims, a 73-year-old woman, has stopped going to the beach altogether after her car keys were stolen.

"I never relax now," her statement read.

"I was left standing in my wet togs and in my 70s I felt very, very awkward and vulnerable.

"I had to stay by my car because I was afraid the person who took my keys would steal it."

Magistrate Rod Madsen said while the costs of Kringle's crime spree had not been calculated, it likely far exceeded the $2337 amount Kringle was ordered to pay in restitution.

"Police have not quantified the damage to other property but I think it is fairly safe in saying the damage caused to property was fairly significant; damage caused to homes, businesses and motor vehicles," he said.

"And also loss or damage to personal property. There has been extensive loss."

Kringle pleaded guilty to 29 charges and solicitor Nichale Bool said as soon as police caught up with him, Kringle co-operated immediately.

"(He) made full admissions to the offences and it's my respectful submission that but for his admissions he may not have been charged with the majority of the offences," she said.

Mr Madsen said it was not entirely clear whether or not that was the case, but he said Kringle clearly had some insight into his offending because he returned some of the stolen items to his victims, because he felt guilty.

He sentenced Kringle to three years in prison for his "reprehensible" crimes.

He has been in jail since his arrest in February and will be eligible for parole in November.

"If you stuff that up, Mr Kringle, by re-offending the very real likelihood is that you will be required to serve that entire sentence," Mr Madsen warned him.

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