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Guns and Bli Bli theft sends Gympie man to court

A GYMPIE man's clean criminal record was marred in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday when he faced 13 charges including stealing and weapon possession.

"I'm not a career criminal," Darren Kenneth James Kruger, 46, told the court.

He appeared in court having spent several nights in custody after handing himself in to police last week.

"It all started with being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he explained to the court when he pleaded guilty to the charges.

The self-employed earth-mover was first charged in July last year with possessing a 12-gauge shotgun and muzzle-loading firearm.

In November, Kruger failed to appear in court and later in the month, was pulled over at a Tewantin car park and searched.

Police found one gram of marijuana in the man's glovebox, a pipe, three Diazepam tablets and a large hunting knife.

The court heard that on December 5, Kruger had taken a wallet from a Bli Bli skate park when the owner left the item to attend to his children.

Kruger had then been caught on CCTV footage using a stolen card to buy alcohol, fuel and cigarettes.

Later, on December 15 and January 13, Kruger failed to appear in court.

Kruger put his offences down to a set of circumstances that went wrong following a marriage breakdown and working for the wrong people.

He said many of the items, including the weapons and drugs, did not belong to him but had been left in his possession.

He said he just wanted to get his life back and return to being a normal 46-year-old.

Magistrate M. Baldwin was shocked that a man with no history, suddenly at the age of 46, had convictions of dangerous drug and unlawful weapon possession.

She fined Kruger $770 and issued a one-month suspended jail term for failing to appear.

For weapon possession, Kruger was given 40 hours of community service. He was also put on probation for stealing, drug possession and possessing a knife in public.

Topics:  court gympie magistrates court stealing weapons

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