Thief goes on stealing spree, leaves DNA, cops year in jail

BENJAMIN John Elich picked out a pair of Nike shoes on February 14, slipped them onto his feet and tucked the thongs he had been wearing under a bench.

A short time later he left the Nike factory outlet at Brisbane Airport without paying for the shoes.

It was not only his thongs he left behind in the shop when he walked out in a pair of stolen shoes, valued at $150; he also left his DNA on the thongs.

On Thursday the 34-year-old Mooloolaba man pleaded guilty to stealing the shoes and other property with a total value of more than $6000.

He also admitted to possessing four types of illicit drugs - including marijuana, amphetamines and methamphetamine - for personal use, digital scales, failing to dispose of a syringe and unlicensed driving.

Police Prosecutor Stephen Potter said Elich had damaged a pair of boots at the Nike store when he tried to remove a security tag, before walking out in the stolen shoes.

On the same day he made off with goods worth nearly $5,500 from Myer at Carindale, including a watch, assorted clothing, a bag and 14 pairs of Versace sun glasses, Sgt Potter said.

On March 15 he stole a bottle of Johnny Walker whisky worth $191 from Dan Murphy's at Buddina. In January and February he stole two bottles of perfume from Myer worth $87 and $94.

Elich's solicitor said the charges had been a reality check for Elich.

He said Elich started taking drugs at the age of 14 and was using every day up until the age of 30.

The death of a friend and other stresses about 18 months ago caused him to relapse into old habits.

In June last year Elich was ordered to do 100 hours of community services, but had completed less than a third of those hours and failed to turn up dozens of times.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said Elich had a lengthy history of drug and property crimes, and had already accumulated a State Penalties Enforcement Registry debt of $27,000 through fines and restitution orders.

"It's just an indication in my view of the loss that you've caused people over the years with very little prospect of re-compensating the victims of your crimes," he said.

He sentenced Elich, who had already spent 54 days in jail, to 12 months in prison, to be released on parole in July, and order him to pay $6000.25 in restitution to the businesses he stole from.

Elich was also fined $600 for disqualified driving and banned from driving for six months.


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