Father of three Scott Howard leaves Mackay courthouse after pleading guilty to breaking into a house owned by St Vincent de Paul Mackay and stealing whitegoods.
Father of three Scott Howard leaves Mackay courthouse after pleading guilty to breaking into a house owned by St Vincent de Paul Mackay and stealing whitegoods.

How ‘grubby’ thief used trolley to steal from charity

A "GRUB" stole from a Mackay charity just months after he himself used the service - and now he must now give back to the community to make up for a crime labelled as "pure greed".

The 52 year old had been homeless and in need when St Vincent de Paul Mackay gave him shelter at a property the organisation owned in East Mackay.

After later securing stable accommodation, Scott Howard broke into the Keats St house and carted away a microwave and a washing machine in a stolen shopping trolley, which he later returned to the supermarket.

"It's a pretty grubby act … it's as grubby as it comes," Magistrate Damien Dwyer said as he ordered Howard to perform unpaid community service.

Scott Howard stole whitegoods from a house for homeless owned by St Vincent de Paul Mackay.
Scott Howard stole whitegoods from a house for homeless owned by St Vincent de Paul Mackay.

A father and grandfather, Howard left a trail of blood in the home in October last year when he smashed through a window and stole whitegoods that he told police he "desperately" needed.

Police matched the blood to Howard through DNA testing.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Marcus Hahn told Mackay Magistrates Court the combined value of the items was $526.

Sgt Hahn said during the police interview Howard told officers "he had previously been a resident at the address as he was receiving support from the St Vincent de Paul men's shelter".

Howard pleaded guilty to aggravated break and enter.

The court heard a drunk Howard, who had issues with alcohol abuse, took a trolley from Sydney St Coles shopping centre to the Keats St home where he used a chair to smash a rear window to unlock a back door.

"You're down on your luck, you're down and out, but you're not the only one in Mackay," Mr Dwyer said.

"But … just for pure greed you thought 'well I need a washing machine and a microwave so I'll go and knock it off every other bloke in my position so they can't have it'.

"It is pretty low."

The court heard the organisation had already replaced the items and had allowed Howard to keep the stolen whitegoods so long as he repaid the money via a payment plan.

Defence solicitor Rosie Varley said Howard had already made two payments.

Ms Varley said her client, who had been unemployed for two years and was on Newstart, was on the waiting list to attend the Ozcare rehabilitation program.

She said in the interim he would be signing up for a program through Lives Lived Well that would begin later this month.

The court heard Howard had a limited history, pleaded guilty at the matter's first mention and made full admissions to police.

"St Vincent de Paul do a wonderful job in this community helping people like you, you can do the same," Mr Dwyer said.

Howard must perform 120 hours of unpaid community service in the next six months. A conviction was not recorded.



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