Mitchell Manz outside Ipswich Courthouse.
Mitchell Manz outside Ipswich Courthouse. Ross Irby

Churchill Abattoir tool thief left trail for police

WITH no job and no money, Ipswich man Mitchell Manz and a mate broke into the Churchill Abattoir and stole thousands of dollars' worth of electrical tools.

An abattoir wheelie bin was used to load the haul, which included a generator, tools in a tool box, leaf-blower, power broom, mower, chain saw, whipper-snipper and a wacker-packer.

But 24-year-old Manz was grabbed by police after his fingerprint was left on the wheelie bin and he tried to hock some of the tools at a pawnbroker for $80.

Mitchell James Stanley Manz, supported in Ipswich Magistrates' Court by his dad, pleaded guilty to five offences, break and entering premises to steal on September 16, 2017, fraud, possession of the dangerous drug marijuana, possession drug utensils, and possession of a knife in public.

Prosecutor Sergeant Jo Colston said most of the gear was recovered at Manz's home, in addition to a leaf-blower recovered from the pawnbroker's.

Sgt Colston said Manz received $80 for two pawned items.

His defence lawyer said Manz was a driller until a work accident, after which his life spiralled out of control due to a lack of income and troubles with Centrelink.

Manz's personal relationship had also broken down due to drug use.

He said that Manz did the break and enter as he had no money and there was no sign he would receive benefits - his work cover claim was "problematic".

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said it was a serious offence that involved valuable goods.

"Plenty of people have misfortunes in life and don't go stealing valuable property," she told Manz.

"It is significant. Power tools and generators are not cheap."

She said Manz and another person broke into the Churchill Abattoir maintenance shed and stole the equipment but Manz left his fingerprint at the scene on a wheelie bin.

Then four days later he pawned two of the items, a hedge trimmer and leaf blower at Ipswich Cash Converters.

Ms Sturgess said police searched his home last October and stolen items were found under the house.

Marijuana, a drug utensil and a knife were also found.

"If you are suffering financial difficulties, it is not a solution to break-in and take property worth thousands of dollars," Ms Sturgess said.

Ms Strugess convicted and fined Manz $500.

He was sentenced to three months' jail, suspended for 12 months.



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