Man in prison after charter boat theft
A Kununurra man has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty in Broome District Court to theft of more than $50,000 worth of goods from three charter boats in Broome last year.
The man, whose name and the name of his co-accused are subject to a suppression order, pleaded guilty to three counts of stealing from the Karma IV, Utopia and Great Escape charter boats while the vessels were moored near Gantheaume Point. While at one of their houses, the men hatched a plot to steal drugs from medical chests on the boats.
They then towed a dinghy to Gantheaume Point, motored it to the Great Escape, gained entry to the cabin and consumed morphine, valium and pethedine from the medical chest.
On reaching the Utopia the men were unable to find drugs but stole marine and fishing equipment worth more than $15,000 and put it in the dinghy.
Back on shore, they took the stolen items to the house before returning to Gantheaume Point.
They then took the dinghy to the Karma IV where they stole more than $33,000 worth of fishing and marine equipment.
The thefts forced each company to cancel several charters, leading to combined losses of more than $8000.
Police searched a property owned by one of the men and located several of the stolen items.
Before he was arrested, the man claimed they were his. Later, in an interview, he directed police to a cache of items in bushland 25km from Broome, where they found stolen equipment.
The man’s lawyer, Bob Eagle, said his client had no prior convictions and had an offer of employment which would allow him to pay restitutions to the vessel owners.
He said his client had no drug or alcohol issues and proposed a suspended sentence.
But State Prosecutor Amanda Burrows told court the man had “an issue with drugs by his own admission”, having told police during an interview that he had been drinking and taken drugs on the night, which meant it was hazy in his memory.
She said the offence was a significant criminal enterprise, not a spur of the moment decision.
“It’s had a significant impact on small businesses as can be seen in the victim impact statements,” she said.
Judge Michael Bowden said businesses were entitled to be protected by the law, and an immediate term of imprisonment was the only option.
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