Damien Lee Burke stole nearly $80,000 worth of appliances and tools from construction sites across the Sunshine Coast, a court has heard.
Damien Lee Burke stole nearly $80,000 worth of appliances and tools from construction sites across the Sunshine Coast, a court has heard. Claudia Baxter

Construction site thief steals nearly $80,000 in equipment

CONVICTED thief Damien Lee Burke stole nearly $80,000 worth of appliances and tools from construction sites across the Sunshine Coast, a court has heard.

The 32-year-old appeared in Maroochydore Magistrates Court this afternoon having spent the previous 169 days in jail awaiting sentence.

Defence solicitor Anna Smith said Burke had been a contributing member of society with no criminal record until he started using the drug ice last year.

Ms Smith said Burke had used methylamphetamine on a recreational basis before that but quickly became addicted to ice.

She said his work suffered and he could not hold down a job.

The court heard he stole mostly appliances, but also sometimes tools, from home and business construction sites between January and November last year.

The goods stolen were valued at $79,380.

His offending affected victims in suburbs including Birtinya, Peregian Springs, Pelican Waters, Mountain Creek, Forest Glen, Bli Bli, Noosaville, Eerwah Vale and Maroochydore.

Ms Smith said Burke was then arrested on another matter last year and when police went to speak to him about one break and enter offence, he told them about another 38.

Those confessions were considered in his favour when Magistrate Annette Hennessy sentenced him.

Ms Smith said Burke's time in jail had been particularly onerous.

She said he had been assaulted a number of times and had been in protected custody since December.

Ms Smith said Burke had a job to go to when he was released and support from his family and partner.

Ms Hennessy sentenced him to 30 months in prison but noting the time already served, set a parole release date of today.

She also fined him a total of $1100 for other offences and ordered he pay restitution of $79,380.


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