Dodgy fisho caught with thousands in stolen gear
BRENDAN James Rafter was living at home with his parents when he began to collect a secret stash of stolen fishing equipment.
Over a seven-and-a-half month period, the fishing enthusiast accumulated rods, reels and other gear to the value of $8900.
Hervey Bay District Court heard it was unclear how Rafter came into possession of the items but one thing was for sure - they weren't his.
The 33-year-old pleaded guilty in court to receiving stolen property.
Police conducted a search of the home in Wondunna in December 2016 where they found the stockpile.
Among the mix of rods, reels and tackle were two stolen car plates.
The Chronicle previously reported that some of the fishing gear was tracked to the Australia's Greatest Boats exhibition, which took place in Hervey Bay in late 2016.
The court heard Rafter's parents managed the Great Sandy Straits Marina Resort at Urangan, and Rafter worked at the marina most of his life doing ground maintenance work.
Defence barrister Adrian Donaldson said Rafter's parents had supported their son "tirelessly" through the "ups and downs" of his life.
Mr Donaldson said a romantic relationship breakdown in 2015 was the catalyst which caused Rafter's life path to detour on a sinister route.
The court heard Rafter collected the items from April 4 to December 25, 2016.
He was aged 31-32 during the offending period.
Rafter's criminal history includes stealing a fishing rod in 2015 but Judge Julie Ryrie said it was not suggested that Rafter had been involved when the items, which ended up in his possession, were unlawfully taken.
She sentenced Rafter to two years in jail, suspended after serving two months.
A pre-sentence custody of 89 days was declared.
Rafter remains in custody awaiting the outcome of another matter.