Op shop firebug jailed

A MAN who lit a bin fire that ended up destroying an entire charity shop has been sent to jail.

Noal Peter John Montemayor-Mabb, 18, yesterday pleaded guilty in Bundaberg District Court to one count of arson and one of endangering a property by fire, following the destruction of Monto's St Vincent de Paul store in July last year.

Prosecutor David Nardone said Montemayor-Mabb, who was 17 at the time of the offence, came before the court "as a relatively regular offender".

Montemayor-Mabb's criminal record included wilful damage, unlawful entry of a vehicle with intent, possessing tainted property, entering a dwelling to commit an indictable offence and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

He was also in breach of parole and probation orders.

On July 19 last year, Montemayor-Mabb set fire to a clothing bin outside the shop and the fire spread to the building, which burnt down, causing $360,000 damage.

The fire also caused minor damage to a nearby building.

Mr Nardone said Montemayor-Mabb's conduct was aggravated by the fact he was on parole and probation at the time.

Judge Michael Rackemann said a psychological report handed to him showed a young Aboriginal man who had been removed from his family at a young age and had developed strong feelings of frustration and displacement.

"He seems to be going on a crime spree without giving much thought to it," he said.

Defence lawyer Kim Bryson said Montemayor-Mabb intended to return to Monto to be close to his parents.

He also hoped to get an apprenticeship as a mechanic.

Judge Rackemann told Montemayor-Mabb that arson was a very serious offence.

"It is even more distressing when it is committed against a charity like St Vincent de Paul, which does a lot of good in the community," he said.

"You seemed not to have cared very much about the consequences of your actions at the time."

Judge Rackemann said he accepted Montemayor-Mabb had had a troubled upbringing, and had been removed from his parents at a young age.

He had been taken care of by a changing series of carers who worked in shifts.

"But the seriousness of the offence cannot be lost sight of," the judge said.

Judge Rackemann said, given the circumstances, imprisonment was the only appropriate course.

Montemayor-Mabb was jailed for three years on each count, to be served concurrently.

However, the judge took into account the time he had already served and fixed a parole date of August 17.

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