Sausage dog avoids sizzle as teen torches stolen car

SAVED: Penny the dachshund was in the car when it was stolen.
SAVED: Penny the dachshund was in the car when it was stolen. Hayley Nissen

A SIXTEEN-year-old Bundy lad who spent a weekend joy-riding in a stolen car admits he torched the car to get rid of fingerprints.

When the Hyundai i20 was stolen by an unnamed person, Penny, a dachshund, was inside waiting for her owner who was shopping.

That led to a frantic Facebook search for the 15-year-old pet by her worried owner and friends.

Appearing in the Bundaberg Children's Court, before District Court Judge William Everson, the 16-year-old, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to breaking into Zoe's Coffee Shop in Bourbong St on June 16 and stealing drinks; unlawful use of the Hyundai sedan belonging to Dianne Pitt between June 22 and June 27; and setting fire to the vehicle on June 26.

Crown prosecutor Clare Kelly said a rock was used to smash glass to gain entry into the cafe, and CCTV footage showed the youth inside with another child. Beverages were taken.

Ms Kelly said the car was stolen from Stockland Bundaberg at 5pm on Thursday, June 22, and the youth admitted to being a passenger afterwards, and over the weekend, saying that he had driven around in the car until Monday.

"He said he set fire to it to prevent his involvement (being discovered)."

Ms Kelly said another child had been charged in relation to the matter and was still to be dealt with.

She said the Hyundai was found late on Monday, June 26, ablaze in a cane field.

"Facebook posts were put out to help as there was a dog in the car."

Defence barrister Simone Bain said the youth had written to the court.

"He presents as genuinely remorseful and he became teary with me when discussing his case," she said.

Judge Everson warned the youth that he could send him to a detention centre, as people who smash their way into shops and burn cars were committing serious offences.

"I could send you to juvenile detention. You'd have a terrible time. You are not such a big guy and you would have a horrible time," he said.

"It would scar you for life. If you do it again you will go into detention."

Judge Everson said the youth needed to find positive role models because he had gone a long way down very quickly - 12 months ago he had no criminal history.

He sentenced the teen to two years of supervised probation for the offences, taking into account his youth and that he had found employment.

Taking into account that the youth had no previous convictions recorded against him and, the impact one would have on future employment, he did not record a conviction.

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