Jesse Marley stole a Bank of Queensland ATM from a Montville cafe.
Jesse Marley stole a Bank of Queensland ATM from a Montville cafe.

ATM robber high on ice

A SURFER who represented Gympie and Wide Bay in the schoolboys' surfing squad said he was high on ice when he “smashed and grabbed” an ATM from a Montville cafe and broke into five Sunshine Coast businesses at Bli Bli in March.

Jesse Marley, 23, of Window Road, Canina, pleaded guilty yesterday in Gympie Magistrates Court to a crime spree of 18 offences, which began on February 27 when he stole a Toyota from a Valdora property and ended when he was arrested on April 2 after a short police chase.

The court heard Marley hid the vehicle in the bush until he used it on March 24 to drive to Caloundra for the purpose of breaking into the Rollerdrome. Then on March 30, Marley and his accomplices used the ute again to steal a Bank of Queensland ATM from a Montville cafe. The next day they drove to Bli Bli and broke into three small businesses and a chemist for money and drugs.

On April 2, police received calls about a Toyota that drove away from Gympie's Caltex 24-hour service station without the driver paying for fuel, and again from the Matilda service station at Kybong. The ute turned out to be the stolen vehicle driven by Marley and it was located by police on East Deep Creek Road.

Marley refused to stop and instead drove erratically to try and out-run police. Officers said he locked up the brakes in an attempt to make them crash into the back of the ute. He eventually crashed the car and tried to run away but was apprehended.

A search of Marley's bag in the car uncovered a double barrel shotgun and four shotgun cartridges, and he was taken into custody. The next day, police searched a Bollier home where Marley had been living and found a large amount of stolen electrical equipment and vials of the restricted drug testosterone.

The electrical equipment had been stolen from Tru Value Hardware in Pomona on March 30 and Marley was charged with receiving stolen property and for possessing a restricted drug.

The court heard that because Marley took the rap for his accomplices he was up for a restitution bill of about $30,000 for damages and to pay back the money he stole, including the cost of a new ATM and $2000.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said the 18 offences Marley was charged with were all of a serious nature — the most concerning the possession of a firearm and ammunition.

“One can only wonder where it was all headed,” she said. “Luckily he was intercepted and the weapon seized. He needs help to get out of the lifestyle he's found himself in.”

Defence lawyer Alicia Thomas said her client had worked through a carpentry apprenticeship from the age of 16 and was fully qualified but had found himself out of work in recent times because of the global economic crisis. She said he held a full time job with a Rainbow Beach joiner for about seven years before he was made redundant and since then had been living off his savings.

“One month before these offences he started taking (the drug) ice which had significant effects on his reasoning abilities,” Ms Thomas said. “Unemployment also partly led him to commit offences.”

Ms Thomas asked that the 57 days served in pre-sentence custody be declared time served and for a lengthy period to pay the restitution back.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told the court Marley had “what some might consider an ideal childhood” with good results from the schools he attended at Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay and Gympie. She said Marley had represented Wide Bay in surfing and at one stage was rated 24 in Australia and New Zealand for surfing.

“You had the world at your feet and you took a wrong turn at one point — to crime. It must have been hard for you sitting in a cell when you could be out surfing,” she said.

Mrs Baldwin said two months in jail was a big leap in penalty for a “clean skin” with relatively no criminal history.

For the firearm charges she sentenced him to one month in jail already served. For the two charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, Marley was placed on prison probation for two years with time served taken into account.

For the six break and enters, he was sentenced to three months each, wholly suspended for three years and for stealing, receiving stolen property and possession of drugs he was placed on probation for two years.

Marley was ordered to pay nearly $30,000 in restitution.

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