OUT OF STOCK: Man steals, sells mob of sheep worth $3.5K
A SOUTHERN Downs father who stole a flock of sheep and sold them to an abattoir for thousands of dollars has claimed it was a total misunderstanding.
Aaron James Dauth was driving in the Texas area in February when he noticed a large mob of sheep in a wooded area.
The Warwick Magistrates Court heard the 39-year-old searched the animals for tags and asked several people if they knew of an owner, but a fruitless search and the flock's "unkempt" state led him to believe they were unowned.
Police prosecutor Steve de Lissa said Dauth decided to load the flock, consisting of 29 ewes, 27 lambs, and two rams into his truck and transported them to an Inglewood abattoir.
Sgt de Lissa said the 39-year-old sold the entire flock to the meat processor, turning a $3543.94 profit.
According to defence lawyer Andy Bazzi, the father considered his search for the animals' owner to be sufficient at the time, though now concedes he could have done more.
Mr Bazzi added the 39-year-old was "embarrassed and remorseful" for his actions, and said he would never have taken or sold the sheep if he realised they already belonged to someone.
Magistrate Julian Noud told the court Dauth's otherwise clean criminal record and numerous character references demonstrated his "honest, astute" character.
Dauth pleaded guilty to one count each of fraud and possessing tainted property.
He was fined $500 and ordered to pay $3543.94 restitution to the flock's owner.
A conviction was not recorded.