Cash-strapped dad stole ATM and bundled it into Barina

A CASH-strapped dad used a crowbar to break into an Ipswich hotel then bundled an ATM into the back of his little Barina hatch and drove off.

Thousands of dollars were taken.

But the thief came undone - he mixed himself a drink of spirits and left his DNA behind on the postmix nozzle.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard that the day before the robbery his father had died.

In court, Mathew Patrick Alexanda Hill, 37, a house painter and father of three from Ellen Grove, pleaded guilty to entering premises by break to steal; two counts of possessing dangerous drugs; possession of drug utensils; and unlawful possession of weapons - Mace.

In facts put by prosecutor Acting Sergeant Bernard Elmore, the machine held at least $5000 cash and Hill caused a total loss of $15,000 including damage and theft of the ATM after breaking into the Weeroona Hotel at Goodna at 3.30am on August 21 last year.

Police sought a $15,000 restitution order for the hotel loss.

The court heard Hill in April 2018 received an 18-month sentence for entering a dwelling by break. And the hotel robbery was done when he was out on parole.

The drugs marijuana and suboxone were found in his bedroom at Ellen Grove when he was arrested in September.

Sgt Elmore said Hill has a substantial criminal history and submitted a transcript from a District Court sentence in 2014, saying it was quite clear Hill had a serious drug problem.

And in 2017 he was convicted after kicking in a door at a house in Ellen Grove, breaking its locking mechanism.

Saying the theft of auto teller machines was a prevalent offence and costly to business operators, Sgt Elmore said police sought a two-year jail term.

Hill had already spent more than three months in custody on these offences after serving time for the previous sentence that he had breached.

However, the question posed by the court was whether the 96 days already spent was sufficient for his criminal conduct in the ATM hotel robbery - viewed as being serious and not one opportunistic.

Defence lawyer Yassar Khan sought immediate eligibility to begin his parole application - a process that can take three to four months.

Mr Khan said the 2017 offence was committed against a known drug dealer who Hill alleged was dealing to young people.

And Hill instructs that he was smoking cannabis at 15, drinking alcohol by 19, and in 2011 was introduced to amphetamines.

"His father died of a heart attack the day prior to the offence. He had to identify the body and this took a toll on him," Mr Khan said.

"He got drugs and relapsed. It was not an offence that had days of planning."

Magistrate Kurt Fowler said there was a "perverse irony" in that Hill takes exception to people offering drugs but then goes around stealing.

He said the seriousness of the offence - entering the hotel by break and forcing the removal of the ATM, causing a loss of $15,000, had to be reflected in the penalty.

Hill was sentenced to two years' jail and lesser (concurrent) terms for the drugs and weapon offences.

He was given eligibility to begin his parole application.



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