DROPPING his car to a private car detailer for a clean-up earlier this month will be a decision one local builder is likely to regret for some time to come.
What the Grafton man didn't know, presumably, was that his supposed car detailer, Ashley Dean Roux, 24, of South Grafton had a long history of criminal activity and had previously been jailed for car theft and attempted violent robbery in company.
Grafton Local Court heard the man dropped his car to a Bush Dr, South Grafton, address on Sunday, February 2 and arranged with Roux to pick up the vehicle that afternoon.
As agreed, the man arrived about 6pm but was told by Roux's girlfriend and co-accused, Kristie Moon, that she didn't know where it was.
The builder called police and reported his car stolen.
Ten days later, near Bateman's Bay, Roux, allegedly with Moon in tow, stole $100 worth of petrol from the Tallagandra Service Station about 1.25pm.
The car's registration number was broadcast across the police radio network and about 2.54pm the car was spotted heading north on the Princess Hwy at Termeil.
Police pulled Roux over and he explained that he'd been having "a bad year" and was on his way back to Grafton to return the car.
Roux told police that he had also stolen petrol from several other service stations in NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory and that he travelled about 18,000km in the 10 days since taking the car.
As unlikely as it would seem, this means the runaway couple would have travelled an average of 1800km a day.
Police could not identify any other petrol theft than the one in Bateman's Bay and Roux was charged with taking and driving a conveyance without consent and dishonestly obtaining property by deception.
Roux was jailed for four months for the car theft charge, and fined $200 and ordered to repay the $100 to the service station for the petrol theft.
But there were more sections of the book to be thrown at Roux on Monday.
He was fined more than $1200 for various traffic offences, including driving 30kmh over the speed limit in Arthur St, Grafton (a 50kmh zone) and driving an unregistered car without a licence on December 1.
He was also dealt with on Monday over a similar list of offences on October 29.