Tradie nailed for selling stolen tools

Tradie nailed for selling stolen tools

A27-year-old Mount Gambier man has been convicted of theft after selling nearly $1500 worth of stolen tools on Facebook Marketplace.

Connor James Swinden faced the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court in front of Magistrate Koula Kossiavelos last week.

The court heard that on December 17, 2023, Mr Swinden stole a DeWALT tool kit valued at $699 and a Ryobi impact wrench valued at $449 from Bunnings Mount Gambier.

The police prosecutor said while Mr Swinden was caught on CCTV, it was not until a Bunnings Mount Gambier employee noticed the items being sold on Facebook Marketplace that he was identified.

“She later checked Facebook Marketplace and saw that a person named Connor James was advertising similar items on there for sale,” he said.

“Police obtained statements, CCTV footage, identified the suspect as the defendant.

“He is distinguishable by tattoos that can be seen in CCTV footage.”

Mr Swinden’s defence lawyer Michael Hill said the defendant was looking for ways to make money following a workplace incident which caused his left pointer and middle fingers to be amputated to the knuckle.

“He was having a lot of trouble with Workcover from the company he was working for at the time of the apprenticeship,” he said.

“When his Workcover got clogged is when he started to try to look for ways to make money and that is what has led to this offending.

“He was looking around Facebook for work and a local tradesman was seeking a trades assistant to help with some roofing and roof painting.

“He took up the job and he found that he was short on tools, he stole the tools to complete the job.”

When questioned by Magistrate Kossiavelos about why Mr Swinden was selling the tools, Mr Hill said he had “completed the job and was seeking to make some money back”.

The court heard Mr Swinden was previously imprisoned for four years in 2016 for committing theft with force.

In sentencing, Magistrate Kossiavelos said the theft was behaviour that should not have occurred but extended leniency due to the extenuating circumstances.

“Mr Swinden, you know that what you have done is wrong,” she said.

“You have served a term of imprisonment for dishonesty so it should be something that should have been eradicated from your behaviour because it can involve 10 years of imprisonment.”

Mr Swinden was sentenced to an 18 month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $1148 in compensation to Bunnings Mount Gambier.

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