TARGETED: An Imbil man's attempt to buy more than $600 of equipment from Gympie Bunnings by swapping barcodes has landed him in jail.
TARGETED: An Imbil man's attempt to buy more than $600 of equipment from Gympie Bunnings by swapping barcodes has landed him in jail. Scott Kovacevic

Dad busted in Gympie Bunnings barcode scam

AN IMBIL man's misguided scheme to support his nine-month-old child by buying more than $600 in tools for only a couple of dollars has ended with frustration, tears and a one-month jail term.

Michael John Hangan first fought back tears, then began loudly questioning his legal advice, then finally erupted in frustration when police came to escort him away, his banging on the elevator doors reverberating through the courtroom long after he had left.

Duty lawyer Elizabeth McAulay told the court 40-year-old Hangan, who has a history of fraud and stealing for which he has served time, needs "very close supervision" due to his state of mental health.

 

Michael John Hangan appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court.
Michael John Hangan appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court. Arthur Gorrie

She said in 2014 he witnessed his pregnant partner die in a car accident, at which he described "trying to put her back together".

Ms McAulay told the court he now had a new child, and although "it's not an excuse" it was the family financial situation which had sparked his latest crime.

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"At the time they were running out of food," she said.

So on February 2, Hangan took barcodes from brackets at Gympie Bunnings and placed them on other items, including a $499 chainsaw, a Ryobi drill and a screwdriver set.

 

Micahel John Hangan pleased guilty to stealing after previous conviction.
Micahel John Hangan pleased guilty to stealing after previous conviction. File Photo

He then took them through the self service checkout, paying a total of $4.75.

On his way out he was asked by the store manager to show his receipt.

He refused and kept walking.

After reviewing CCTV footage, police found Hangan and the items at Imbil.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan accepted Hangan's guilty plea to the charge of stealing after a previous conviction, but said his past showed he "doesn't seem to learn".

 

Gympie Bunnings.
Gympie Bunnings. Scott Kovacevic

He openly questioned whether a job Hangan claimed he was about to start in Noosa exists, and offered to adjourn sentencing to 2pm for the employer to be contacted.

On advice from Hangan, Ms McAulay said the upcoming employer was currently away.

Mr Callaghan then sentenced Hangan to six months jail, with parole from March 10.

Gympie Times


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