Hungry gun thief busted by fingerprint on the fridge

HUNGER was the downfall for a foolish gun thief who raided the fridge before making off with his haul of weapons.

In fact, Mackay Magistrates Court heard the 21 year old would not have been caught if he had just taken the guns.

But police were able to trace the break and enter to Mackay's Jaiden Clint Whitehead because he left fingerprints on the refrigerator inside the Blackall Pistol Club.

Two months into his release on parole in April this year Whitehead forced his way into the building stealing a number of firearms, which Prosecutor Joshua Morris said was "an aggravating type feature" of the "serious enter premise and commit".

Mr Morris argued there was also "some element of premeditation" as Whitehouse had the opportunity to observe the firearms in clubhouse.

He had been jailed for two and a half years for robbing the Mount Pleasant NightOwl while armed with a machete and was at the Blackall Work Camp - and working near the pistol club - before his parole release in February this year.

The court heard attempts were made to conceal the crime by spraying oil on the building - although police cannot say if Whitehead was alone or with others at the time.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer said it was "reasonably serious" offending.

"He's gone in there and he's got gun and ... (opened) the fridge and took whatever he could find," Mr Dwyer said.

"Indeed if he had have just taken the firearms he wouldn't be here.

"That was your undoing Mr Whitehead because your fingerprints were found on that fridge."

Solicitor Geoff Govey said Whitehead began dabbling in drugs a few years ago, ultimately leading to his downfall.

After his release on parole, Whitehead worked with his father for a couple of weeks before going on Centrelink for two weeks and "unfortunately lapsed back into drug taking".

The court heard he intended to stay in Rockhampton after his release to give himself a better chance of staying out of trouble.

"He feels if he comes back to his old haunts here (in Mackay) he's going to lapse back in with the same crowd," Mr Govey said.

But Mr Dwyer pointed out Whitehead had been in Blackall when he committed his latest offences.

"The crime scene followed you Mr Whitehead, you didn't follow it," Mr Dwyer said.

Whitehead also pleaded guilty to possessing dangerous drugs, being a passenger in a stolen car and receiving tainted property.

The court heard the car keys were inside where Whitehead was staying and the vehicle was found nearby. It was also sprayed with oil to get rid of fingerprints.

Whitehead's final release date for the armed robbery is February 8, 2021. He was jailed for nine months to be served at the same time with parole eligibility on November 10 this year.

He was also fined $750 for the drug possession and a conviction was not recorded on that charge.



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