'Disgraceful': Thieves shamed after church ransacked
FINGERPRINTS left at the scene of a robbery led detectives to the culprit's home after a West Gladstone church was stripped and ransacked, a court was told.
William Arthur Dykes pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday to one count of enter premises and commit indictable offence.
Dykes and a co-accused were tied to the theft of the Gladstone Gospel Chapel after police found their fingerprints on the ceiling and walls of the chapel, the court was told.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said the offending occurred sometime on or between December 29, 2018 and January 7, 2019.
Sen-Constable Selvadurai said Dykes and his co-accused entered the Garden and Picnic St chapel at West Gladstone through a side door.
Constable Selvadurai said once inside, the men moved furniture around in order to reach items fixed on the walls and ceiling.
The duo stole speakers, a projector, an amplifier and a DVD player.
The pair also caused damage to the walls by removing the items.
The pair left through the same side door and left it open, the court was told.
Police were called on January 6 when parishioners attended the church and discovered the theft and damage.
Scenes of crimes officers attended the next day and took fingerprint samples. Constable Selvadurai said the fingerprints led police to Dykes, who also lived in West Gladstone.
Police executed a search warrant and seized Dykes' phone where they found text messages regarding the sale of the stolen items, including photographs.
Dykes told police he could not remember the offending as he was on drugs at the time.
The court was told some of the items had been found and returned by police.
Acting Magistrate Athol Kennedy said Dykes' and his co-accused actions were "disgraceful".
"I should put in your (new) probation conditions to attend church every Sunday.
"The church would probably fall down if you went there so I won't do that.
"What would convince you to do this?"
Dykes said he and his partner had been doing drugs and the pair had no money left for food.
"We were hungry," Dykes said.
Magistrate Kennedy asked how Dykes could choose drugs over life necessities.
Magistrate Kennedy activated a previous suspended sentence Dykes was serving of two months, with immediate parole release.
Dykes was also placed on 24 months' probation and a conviction was recorded.