Performax thief thrown a lifeline

A FORMER Performax employee who stole thousands of dollars worth of imported parts and sold them on eBay has been given the opportunity to stay out of jail and work to pay off a $28,888 debt.

Phillip Thomas Hardy, 50, of Pottery Street, Pomona, pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court to 47 charges of stealing, committed in a year between February 2008 and February 2009.

The Gympie company, Performax International which trades as Corvette Queensland, imports and exports American performance cars and parts as well as sell automotive parts to the public.

The court heard that during the course of Hardy’s employment at Performax he began stealing property to take home and list for sale on eBay.

Among the parts he took were alloy wheels and tyres, winches, UHF radios, a fuel tank, diesel tuner and a corvette roof.

A search of his premises located no illegal property, however during an interview with police Hardy admitted to taking the parts and selling them on eBay. Defence lawyer Chris Anderson said his client had a drug problem and stole the parts to pay for his mortgage.

He tendered a detailed copy of a doctor’s report that outlined Hardy’s drug problem and reported that he used drugs as an avoidance technique.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said a custodial sentence was not out of range given Hardy’s history but submitted that a lengthy period of an intensive correction order would be appropriate.

“An ICO would act as a deterrent and give him the assistance he needs to help him not offend again,” she said.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said she considered Hardy’s behaviour “abhorrent. Your references refer to you hitting rock bottom — it’s your decision whether you stay there or work your way back. A jail term is well within range and probably expected (but) it’s not the best option for you to sit in jail and come out trapped in the cycle of unemployment.”

Hardy was sentenced to 15 months jail to be served by an intensive corrections order.

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