NAMED: Gympie’s biggest fraudsters and thieves of 2020
The Gympie region saw its fair share of theft and credit card fraud in 2020, but the long arm of the law caught up with them as they found themselves facing the Magistrates and District Courts.
From stealing from the disabled to swindling their boss out of $136k, we have compiled a list of the worst offenders of the past 12 months.
1. Gympie thief robbed elderly, homes, businesses for 17 years
A serial burglar who targeted bowls clubs, businesses and homes across the Gympie region over a 20-year spree was jailed in 2020.
Craig Anthony Wilson, 44, was convicted of offences dating back to 2002-2003, and several offences from 2019, including stealing jewellery, handbags, an iPad, phones, keys, cash from bowls clubs, fishing equipment, diesel, power tools and a car.
District Court Judge Gary Long sentenced Wilson to four years and three months jail, to be suspended for five years after he serves 27 months.
Wilson was also disqualified from driving for two years.
2. How a Gympie mum swindled her boss out of $136k
Gail Maree Gear had been with Gympie’s Wood Industries Pty Ltd for only three weeks when she first swindled them out of their first lot of money.
It was the start of a staggering 16-month run of “calculated” fraudulent activity in which the then-53-year-old Jones Hill woman stole more than $136,000 from the company, which runs DynaTimber.
Gear pleaded guilty to two fraud charges in Gympie District Court in 2020, and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years jail. Her jail sentence will be suspended after she has served 15 months, with the balance suspended for another four-and-a-half years.
3. Serial crim, drug addict stole $100k from one house alone
Serial criminal and severe drug addict Brett Ingliss Bayldon languished behind bars until October 2020 following a spate of crimes which included “cleaning out” about $100,000 in property from one Gympie house.
His crimes included the burglary of a house, possessing an illegal weapon (a knuckle duster), trespassing, and nine counts of defrauding Westpac of a total of $420 through the use of a stolen credit card.
Over the 2019 Easter weekend, 28-year-old Bayldon and a few friends drove a ute to a house he knew was unoccupied at the time and stole a vintage car, a Harley Davidson motorbike, a tinny with an outboard motor and household items including digital appliances, DVDs and records.
Bayldon was handed a three year jail sentence and was eligible for parole on October 19, owing to 275 days already served in custody.
4. 69yo diabetic pensioner stole $9000 from disabled woman
A 41-year-old wheelchair-bound disabled woman who cannot speak lost $9000 when it was stolen by the man charged with looking after her finances.
Her bank account was originally managed by her grandmother, but control was handed over to 69-year-old Dennis Mervyn Middleton, of Gympie, when the grandmother developed dementia.
Dennis Mervyn Middleton, 69, pleaded guilty to seven stealing charges and one fraud charge in the Gympie Magistrates Court.
Middleton was handed a 12-month jail sentence, with the first three months to be served behind bars and the remainder suspended for two years.
5. Teen dumped stolen ute in cemetery lake after ramming car
A Gympie teenager who stole a car, dumped it in a lake and assaulted three people was told to grow up and take responsibility after blaming his behaviour on drugs and alcohol.
Jason Dylan Chilly, 19, pleaded guilty to 16 charges in the Gympie Magistrates Court, including assault causing bodily harm, going armed in public to cause fear, theft and breaching bail conditions.
On February 16, Chilly stole a ute, which he drove around Gympie while on a disqualified licence, stole petrol, rammed the car into his partner’s mother’s car and then drove the car to the cemetery and let it roll into a lake.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan sentenced Chilly to 18 months jail, to be released on 12 months parole after serving six months.
6. Former Tin Can Bay butcher stole $10,000 from Lions Club
A former Tin Can Bay family butcher avoided jail despite stealing more than $10,000 from the local Lions Club he was a trusted member of almost five years ago.
Scott Leslie Barker, 43, pleaded guilty to seven charges of fraud adding up to $10,547.44, stolen from the club “over a short time” between January 18 and February 9, 2016.
The Gympie Magistrates Court heard Barker’s method of operation was to transfer funds out of the Lions Club’s internet banking accounts and into accounts owned by Nolan Meats, to cover debts he owed them.
Barker was given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay back the full amount he owed in restitution to the Lions Club within seven days.
7. Slaughterman goes on $700 spree with co-worker’s card
Am abattoir worker who stole a co-worker‘s debit card and used it to buy close to $700 worth of alcohol, cigarettes and soft drink, narrowly missed spending time behind bars.
Kevin Edward John Smith, a 35-year-old slaughterman, pocketed his colleague’s debit card when he found it on the floor at work on October 21 last year.
Within about 15 minutes of the first transaction he had spent $698.23 on the card in eight different tap and go transactions.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan sentenced Smith to three months jail, but wholly suspended it for 18 months and ordered he pay $398.28 restitution.
8. Man who ‘lost everything’ stole to avoid Centrelink shame
A man who stole hundreds of dollars worth of petrol and a licence plate belonging to the Transport Department said he did it to avoid the shame of having to go on Centrelink.
Eugene Paul Underdown, 54, pleaded guilty to several charges, including theft, fraud, failure to appear in court, driving with no licence and possessing a pipe used to smoke a dangerous drug.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan ordered Underdown pay $788.95 in restitution for the stolen fuel and released him on a six month suspended jail sentence.
9. Gympie man convicted of fraud, weapons and drug offences
Nate Michael Edmunds, 20, pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court on December 7 to stealing a woman’s card from her car and going on a spending spree, while also possessing a knuckle dusters and a glass pipe.
On August 19, a woman reported her purse had been stolen from her car between 9am on August 16 and midnight on August 17.
Police conducted checks with Gympie taxi services and identified a booking made by Edmunds that matched the date and amount taken from the victim’s card.
They also found a card was used at Hungry Jacks and CCTV footage showed the taxi going through the drive-through, the court heard.
Magistrate Hillan fined Edmunds $1800 for the six fraud offences and ordered he pay $171.43 restitution.
For the offences relating to the possession of two weapons and a pipe, Edmunds was fined $900 and the property was forfeited.
No conviction was recorded.
10. Tin Can Bay grandma caught on CCTV stealing
A grandmother caught stealing a wallet full of cash from a Tin Can Bay store had a history of stealing dating back to the 1970s.
Debra Anne Pedley, 61, stole a wallet containing $270 cash which had been left by a customer at a Tin Can Bay newsagency on March 18, 2020.
Pedley faced Gympie Magistrates Court in August and pleaded guilty to stealing the wallet.
The victim, a customer served before Pedley, accidentally left his wallet behind, and after completing her transaction Pedley walked past it, placed her hand over it while holding other items to hide it and picked it up.
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