A court has heard a special police task force was formed to combat a drug addicted former factory worker’s spate of thefts at Bunnings stores.
A court has heard a special police task force was formed to combat a drug addicted former factory worker’s spate of thefts at Bunnings stores.

Thief nabs thousands from retailer in sophisticated scheme

A woman who was the "primary offender" in a "sophisticated scheme" of stealing thousands worth of tools from Bunnings stores across the Brisbane region over a six-week period had her case adjourned when a police prosecutor informed the court more charges had yet to be filed against her.

Appearing at the Cleveland Magistrates Court today Briony Ellish Tucker, 34, pleaded guilty to a slew of charges including multiple counts of enter premises and commit indictable offence; enter premises with intent and driving without a licence demerit point suspended.

Multiple Bunnings stores targeted – generic image.
Multiple Bunnings stores targeted – generic image.

The court heard Alexandra Hills woman Tucker had stolen over $5,000 worth of tools, including lawn trimmers, leaf blowers and chainsaws by fraudulently returning items previously stolen from Bunnings stores in what Magistrate Deborah Vasta referred to as a quite sophisticated scheme of double dipping.

Working with a male and female accomplice Tucker would present an item, previously stolen, for return by claiming to have lost the receipt and would then proceed to purchase items with the refund voucher.

The court heard the offending had become so prolific a special police task force had been formed to combat Tucker's stings.

The court was further told the offending displayed a "consistent modus operandi" and had occurred at Bunnings stores at Manly West, Rocklea, North Lakes, Stafford and Browns Plains between March 3 and April 26.

Defence solicitor David Kanitz said his client's offending was driven by a need to fund a drug habit developed after the break-up of a 13-year relationship.

Mr Kanitz further said Tucker was unemployed but usually worked as a factory worker, had been "basically homeless" since the age of 12, was genuinely remorseful and had made admissions to police when questioned on the spate of thefts.

Magistrate Vasta had started her sentencing remarks when the court was told more charges would be filed by police in connection with further alleged offending at Bunnings stores which prompted an adjournment of the matter.

Tucker is next scheduled to appear at the court on September 24.

Originally published as Woman steals thousands from Bunnings in sophisticated scheme


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