RED-HANDED: 10 times Gympie crims were caught in the act
RED-HANDED: 10 times Gympie crims were caught in the act

RED-HANDED: 10 times Gympie crims were caught in the act

FROM a Gympie dad who was busted smoking from a meth pipe by police, to a drunk Coast man filmed taking a sledgehammer to a vending machine, here are 10 times Gympie criminals were caught in the act.

1. 23yo caught red-handed vandalising Mary Valley Rattler

A Gympie region man was caught red-handed graffitiing the Mary Valley Rattler after a staff member saw him live on CCTV and called police earlier this year.

Matthew William Ross, 23, and another man were caught on CCTV using black markers to graffiti two train carriages, two benches and windowsill at the Mary Valley Rattler in the early hours of May 21.

A staff member watching the security tapes saw the offenders and rang police, who arrived on scene to find the two still there.

Ross pleaded guilty and was fined $500.


2. Boat thief caught in the act

A young Gympie man who breached COVID-restrictions to steal a boat and was caught after getting bogged trying to outrun police, had also been disqualified from driving.

While fishing at Rainbow Beach on April 18, Corey Michael Jessop-Warnes saw a small aluminium boat, known as a tender, tied to a tree near the Carlo Point boat ramp, and decided he would steal it.

Corey Michael Jessop-Warnes
Corey Michael Jessop-Warnes

The 21-year-old headed home to Gympie to get a trailer, and at 6pm returned to the boat, untied and loaded it onto his trailer before he was witnessed driving it out of town.

At 7pm, Jessop-Warnes stopped on Rainbow Beach Road to inspect the boat, but when a police patrol recognised the boat and turned their lights on, he ran to the car and tried to drive away.

Police pulled up alongside Jessop-Warnes, who tried to turn in front of them, but he spun into soft sand and became bogged and police caught up with him.

Jessop-Warne was charged with driving unlicensed while on a court disqualification, stealing, evading police and obstructing police and was taken to the Gympie watch house.

During this time travel restrictions were in place for Queensland, and he was also charged with breaching a COVID-19 direction by leaving his house without a lawful reason.

Between April and May, Jessop-Warnes was also charged with two more driving while on a disqualified licence offences, driving unregistered, possessing a glass pipe used to smoke a dangerous drug, possessing stolen registration plates and possessing suspected stolen property.

Mr Callaghan gave Jessop-Warnes a head sentence of 18 months imprisonment, to be released after serving six months.

Having been in pre-sentence custody for four months at the time of sentencing, Jessop-Warnes will be eligible for parole on November 28.

He was also disqualified from driving for a further two years.


3. Dad was smoking meth when police walked in

A Gympie dad landed himself in court after police walked in on him as he was just about to smoke meth while they were searching for a wanted person.

While searching a Victory Heights property on March 13, police came across Neville James Wanstall, 34, underneath the house in a makeshift loungeroom.

Police saw a glass pipe, a set of digital scales and a clipseal bag in front of Wanstall, and a butane torch on the ground, which was still alight.

The clipseal bag contained 0.52g of meth, and Wanstall admitted he was about to start smoking it when they walked in.

Wanstall pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing meth, two charges of possessing a glass pipe and two charges of digital scales in the Gympie Magistrates Court and was fined $600.


4. 50yo caught smoking weed in Mary St

A Gympie man who attempted to hide marijuana when he was caught smoking behind a Mary Street business tried to tell police it was tobacco and gave a false address.

On August 8, police responded to a call about a drug offence, and on the loading bay of a Mary Street business they found Thomas Arthur Ward, 50, with a homemade pipe and container of marijuana.

Police saw Ward try to hide a plastic pot containing marijuana as they approached him, and found burnt traces of the drug in the bowl of the pipe.

Police could smell the marijuana, but when asked Ward tried to tell them he was smoking tobacco and then gave them a fake address.

Dean pleaded guilty to possession and was ordered to attend a drug diversion session, and placed on a $500 good behaviour bond for four months.

No conviction was recorded against Dean.


Emily Jane Murfitt
Emily Jane Murfitt

5. Caught stealing from Vinnies

A Gympie teenager who returned to steal from St Vinnies three times in one night was later busted driving illegally and with marijuana and glass pipes in her car.

At 7pm on May 25, this year, Emily Jane Murfitt, 19, and her co-accused were captured on CCTV pulling up outside the Gympie St Vinnies, and Murfitt could be seen getting out of the passenger seat and grabbing six bags of clothing and boxes with unknown items.

The pair returned again and again, and Murfitt was filmed loading several items into the car each time, including a mini trampoline, a baby seat, a surfboard, several more bags of clothing and a sleeping bag.

Murfitt pleaded guilty in the Gympie Magistrates Court this week to stealing from St Vinnies, driving without a licence, unlawful possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of a glass pipe used in connection with smoking a dangerous drug, and failing to attend the police station to provide identifying particulars without reasonable excuse.

Murfitt was fined $500 and disqualified from driving or holding a licence for three months.

No convictions were recorded against her.


6. Drunk mechanic attacks vending machine with sledgehammer

A Cooloola Cove man who tried to “have a conversation” with a vending machine before smashing it with a sledgehammer was fined $400 in Gympie Magistrates Court this year.

Piriniha Te Whenua Kelly, 41, pleaded guilty to wilfully damaging property at Rainbow Beach Car Wash on October 19, 2019.

Police prosecutor Lisa Manns said CCTV footage showed an intoxicated Kelly approach a vending machine at the car wash, “have a conversation with it”, and then kick and punch it before leaving.

He later returned with a sledgehammer and changed his clothes to try to hide his identity, but did not change his shoes.

He smashed the vending machine with the sledgehammer, causing $391 of damage.

Kelly pleaded guilty to wilfully damaging property and was fined $400.


7. Man jailed after racking up 40 charges in 2-year crime spree

A Gympie man’s suspicious behaviour led to his arrest, as he attempted to avoid a police patrol in Alexandra Hills in 2018.

Ian Charles Victor Mcilvenna was acting suspiciously while riding a motorcycle, and police realised he was trying to avoid being seen by them.

They followed Mcilvenna to a dead end where he mounted the footpath and continued to flee at speeds of 20-30km/h before hitting another dead end, dumping the bike and trying to run.

After trying to taser him, the officers were able to arrest Mcilvenna, who told them he had a homemade gun and a glass pipe in his pocket.

Police also discovered he was wanted on a return to prison warrant.

Mcilvenna, then 42, appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court this year, and pleaded guilty to 37 charges including stealing, possessing counterfeit cash, possessing explosives (bullets), possessing drug utensils, driving stolen cars, possessing weapons, obstructing and evading police officers, damaging police property, and more.

Mr Callaghan gave Mcilvenna a head sentence of two and half years, disqualified him driving or holding a licence for three and half years. He will be eligible for parole in May, 2021.


8. Man caught smashing phone outside police station

A Gympie man caught on CCTV smashing a phone outside the Gympie Police Station said he was looking for his belongings and became mad when the station was closed.

On March 8, Gregory James Alexander, 35, was drinking at a Sunday lunch when the next thing he knew he was waking up in hospital and being told his belongings were at the Gympie Police Station.

Alexander walked up to the station only to find it closed, so he tried to use the phone outside the building.

He became aggravated and could be seen on CCTV footage hitting the phone, smashing the speaker into two pieces.

Alexander pleaded guilty to wilful and unlawful property damage and was fined $300.


Quinton Vollmerhausen
Quinton Vollmerhausen

9. Dad steals mattress, clothes from Vinnies

A single father caught on CCTV stealing from St Vinnies Gympie told a court he only helped his female co-offender because he was scared of her.

Quinton Marcus Vollmerhausen was filmed stealing a mattress and clothing from the store on December 23, 2019, and pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court this year.

Security cameras caught Vollmerhausen, 32, pulling his car up outside, and waiting in it while the woman started loading it with stolen items.

Vollmerhausen said she then yelled at him to get out and help, and feeling “fearful” he put a mattress and clothing into the car before getting back in the driver’s seat.

He pleaded guilty to stealing and was fined $700 with no conviction recorded.


Kyrrin Gaye Vinnicombe
Kyrrin Gaye Vinnicombe

10. Woman caught in midnight charity theft

Yet another person caught stealing from St Vinnies faced the court earlier this year, charged with stealing hundreds of dollars worth of donations.

Kyrrin Gaye Vinnicombe and another man were caught on CCTV last November 23 parking outside St Vincent de Paul’s in Gympie just before midnight.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Lisa Manns said Vinnicombe, 47, left the car and combed through the items sitting outside the charity for the next six minutes.

About $535 in goods were stolen, including a portable air conditioner, a cassette player and shoes.

She pleaded guilty to stealing and was fined $750.


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