An image from the arrest outside Bunnings Warehouse in Byron Bay..
An image from the arrest outside Bunnings Warehouse in Byron Bay..

REVEALED: How man’s dumb mistakes ruined illegal gun deal

A NORTH Coast man who was arrested outside a popular hardware store during a failed firearms purchase gave police an easy case for his arrest, according to court documents.

Anthony Charles Finocchiaro, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to acquire a pistol without a permit when he faced Byron Bay Local Court on Monday.

This charge had been amended from that of actually acquiring a firearm.

Police have withdrawn a second charge.

Finocchiaro, from Kingscliff, was arrested in the car park of Bunnings Warehouse on Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay on the morning of July 19 this year.

According to court documents, Finocchiaro had engaged in communications through an online platform using cryptocurrency and made arrangements for the purchase of a Glock pistol.

He did not realise he was speaking with an undercover police officer.

In court documents, police said it was easy to identify Finocchiaro because of the "low level of sophistication the accused used throughout his use of the online platform".

He provided his full name and address, email address, a photo of himself and his driver's licence to purchase bitcoins as part of the arrangement.

After his arrest, devices were seized from Finocchiaro's home.

According to court documents, Finocchiaro - now subject to a firearms prohibition order - had been a member of the Murwillumbah Rifle Club and was booked in to take part in a pistol safety course through the club.

When he was due to complete that course, he was in custody.

He was later released on strict bail and was eventually granted variations so he could attend church and hair appointments.

In court on Monday, defence lawyer Steven Mercael asked for some time to finalise documents which he would tender to the court.

Magistrate Karen Stafford ordered a sentencing assessment report and adjourned the matter to December 14.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' prison.


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