Court generic
Court generic

Man faces court for stealing $3K from employers

A PART-TIME employee of a Townsend business has faced court for stealing more than $3000 during a break-in caught on CCTV.

Blake Harris, 26, appeared in Maclean Local Court last week pleading guilty to a 2019 break and enter of the workshop and office of his employer.

According to the agreed facts, Harris had been a part-time employee at the business for around eight months at the time of the break and enter.

The court heard that on August 3, 2019 Harris was with the victim, the owner of the business, when at about 1pm the victim finished work and was going to leave. According to court documents Harris asked the victim if he could stay and work on his own car, which he had done previously.

The victim gave Harris the work key to the premises, which the court heard had also been done before and arranged for Harris to leave the key on the driver seat of the victim’s work vehicle when he was finished.

Over the next few days Harris failed to return the keys to the business to his employer and failed to turn up to work despite repeated messages from the victim.

On August 6 Harris again didn’t appear for a work shift, and the victim sent Harris another message asking where he was and again told him he needed to return the key. At 5.29pm Harris replied with an unreadable message on Facebook Messenger.

The court heard at about 6.30am on August 7 the victim arrived at work, and realised he still didn’t have his key and sent Harris another message via Messenger telling him he needed to return the key.

A few minutes later other staff arrived and let the victim in, and he began daily office chores when he discovered a $148 discrepancy with Eftpos receipts and money in the till. Other staff were unable to account for the difference, and when the victim viewed CCTV footage it showed Harris arriving at the shop at 6.06pm on the night prior.

Harris was caught on CCTV entering through the front door, using the light of his mobile phone to look around the premises in numerous parts of the shop, including the office, workshop area and kitchen.

The court heard Harris was captured on CCTV stealing around $3000 cash from the office drawer, which was being stored temporarily until it could be banked, and had been hidden by the victim under and between paperwork.

Harris also stole $100 from the till which was hidden in a filing cabinet in a separate area of the building, and was caught on CCTV leaving at about 6.12pm.

After watching the CCTV footage the victim went to Harris’s Gulmarrad home but he wasn’t there, and was told by the landlords that Harris had not been home all night.

At 9.44am the victim sent Harris a message that read “you have 30 min to bring my money or I go to the police”. Harris rang the victim and denied stealing the money, however eventually stated he had borrowed $100. Despite being told he had been caught on CCTV by the victim, Harris continued to deny it.

On August 9 a statement was obtained from the victim at Yamba Police Station and CCTV copy made.

At 2.50pm August 10 police spoke to Harris in Maclean and while he made admissions to taking $100 he disputed taking any more, and was issued a Future Court Attendance Notice.

In Maclean Local Court on Thursday last week Harris was sentenced to a nine month intensive corrections order, which included 100 hours community service. A compensation order of $3000 was also made.

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