LUCK RUNS OUT: Serial pokie thief jailed
ADAM Joseph Cotter thought he hit the jackpot when he stole money from pokie machines in April, but his luck ran out when he appeared in court.
Cotter, 33, pleaded guilty to three counts of break and enter and stealing and another three counts of wilful damage.
In three days between April 27 and 29, Cotter stole $10,000 in cash and caused significant damage to pokie machines and doors at the Bundaberg Services Club and the Across the Waves Sports Club.
Crown prosecutor Jacqueline Ball told the court Cotter broke into the services club using a crowbar to jemmy the smoker's area door open.
Once inside, he went to the gaming room where he broke into pokie machines and removed note collector boxes before opening them and stealing the money inside.
The following morning Cotter returned with an unknown co-offender. He stole more money from the note collector boxes. On April 29, Cotter and an unknown offender were seen on CCTV breaking into the Across the Waves Sports Club via a smoking area door, again using a crowbar to jemmy open the door.
He broke into and damaged two pokie machines and stole cash. Records indicated Cotter had attended the sports club on April 27 where he put in a membership application.
Ms Ball said during the entire offending, more than $10,000 was stolen, the repair bill was about $11,000 and it cost $300,000 to replace the numerous pokie machines he damaged and destroyed.
Ms Ball said Cotter was released on parole for similar offending in August last year and was currently in custody.
She described Cotter's offending as serious and persistent, which carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Cotter's barrister Callan Cassidy told the court his client moved to Chinchilla after his parole release and came back to Bundaberg after being laid off due to lack of work.
Upon returning, some former associates tracked him down and put him under "significant pressure" because of an outstanding drug debt.
Mr Cassidy said his client told him he was "getting to an age where he was too old to be offending" and "wanted to go on to live a law abiding life".
Judge Anthony Rafter sentenced Cotter to three and a half years imprisonment for each of the break and enter charges and two years for each of the wilful damage charges.
He will be eligible for parole on April 27, 2021.