Thief claims he was saving stuff from being ruined
A DOCTOR returned from an overseas trip to find thieves had ransacked his house and stolen more than $30,000 worth of furniture and guns.
Among the loot was the doctor's $18,500 antique grandfather clock.
The next day, the doctor caught the thieves red-handed as they loaded up a ute and a trailer with more of his furniture.
One of the thieves told police he thought the house was abandoned and he wanted to save the furniture and restore it.
HIs lawyer said he was like an archaeologist - saving stuff from ruin.
Two Ipswich men went before Ipswich District Court charged over the crimes.
Dean Mitchell Taylor, 33, a tradie and new dad from Redbank, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and stealing from the doctor's home at Morayfield.
Rodney Mark Jones, 47, from Ipswich, pleaded guilty to one charge of burglary and stealing from the same home.
The men ignored each other as they sat side by side in the court dock.
Crown prosecutor Stipe Drinovac said furniture, household goods, crystal figurines, saddlery gear, and six firearms had been stolen.
The stolen items were valued at $33,695.
The property was recovered, except for $3000 worth of power tools.
Mr Drinovac said Jones had no serious criminal history except for bail breaches, while Taylor had offences for dishonesty and drugs.
Jones's defence barrister Scott Neaves said a medical report showed he had been using illicit drugs, methylamphetamine, that coincided with his mental health deteriorating.
Mr Neaves said Jones's limited history showed he was not a person likely to commit burglaries.
Taylor's defence barrister Justin Thomas said Taylor told police "I'd seen the house and thought it was abandoned".
"It piqued his interest. Intrigued him," Mr Thomas said.
"He'd gone into the home and seen items that took his interest.
"He was like an archaeologist, saving stuff from being ruined.
"He was taking these items and keeping them to clean, to fix up."
Mr Thomas said that for Taylor it was not a case of selling the stuff at Cash Converters.
He said the six guns were taken from a cupboard that had disintegrated.
He said the premises were in a fairly poor state and Taylor took the guns home and secured them correctly in his own gun safe.
But after police took back the goods the doctor identified as being his, Taylor realised 26 items taken were actually his.
Mr Thomas said Taylor was a concreter who grew up in Murwillumbah and Kingscliff.
He was a dad to a three-week-old baby and was struggling financially to meet his mortgage repayments.
He had assisted police, even returning a stolen violin that had been overlooked.
Mr Thomas sought suspended jail terms.
Judge Dennis Lynch QC found Jones to be less involved.
With no history of burglary, Jones was sentenced to 12-month stint of supervised probation.
Taylor was sentenced to 18 months' jail and ordered to serve four months with parole release on April 13, 2019.
Judge Lynch did not buy Taylor's story that he believed the home to be abandoned.
Taylor had been given a suspended jail term earlier this year for stealing, burglary, and drug offences.
Judge Lynch acknowledged the hardship Taylor's jail term would have on his partner and their child.