Beef over thief grief

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - By EL­LIE TURNER

TIGHT- ARSE trav­ellers who can af­ford to in­clude Aus­tralia in their globe- trot­ting adventures but steal gro­ceries to save a few bucks have ir­ri­tated Dar­win au­thor­i­ties.

Ger­man tourist Max­i­m­il­ian Goebel and Texan ma­chine op­er­a­tor Bryon John­son faced court for sep­a­rate acts of steal­ing at the CBD Coles Su­per­mar­ket this week.

Mag­is­trate Greg Smith told John­son: ‘‘This is some­thing we have to deal with far too of­ten.

‘‘It’s a mat­ter of great an­noy­ance to peo­ple who live in the re­gion that (tourists) can af­ford to travel the world but won’t pay for food when they get here.’’

John­son pleaded guilty to steal­ing gro­ceries and as­sault­ing a fe­male se­cu­rity guard.

The court heard the woman de­tained him in a small in­ter­view room down­stairs at the Mitchell Cen­tre com­plex and he ‘‘pan­icked’’.

Prose­cu­tor Julie O’Neill said: ‘‘He (rushed at the door and) pushed the vic­tim with force, she grabbed his bag to stop him . . . he fell on top of her and crushed her.’’

He fled but was de­tained by the store man­ager be­fore po­lice ar­rived.

(Tourists) can af­ford to travel the world but won’t pay for food when they get here

De­fence lawyer Caro­line Snell said the Amer­i­can fa­ther-of-two spent four days in cus­tody.

‘‘ He knows he did the wrong thing,’’ she said.

‘‘It was the first time he had ever been in trou­ble.

‘‘He was try­ing to save a few dol­lars and took the food with­out pay­ing.’’

Mag­is­trate Smith said John­son would have been in a bet­ter po­si­tion if he ac­cepted that he had done the wrong thing.

‘‘Con­sider your­self very lucky to be walk­ing away to­day,’’ he said, be­fore im­pos­ing a bond and $1000 fine.

Goebel apol­o­gised when he faced the steal­ing charge.

Mag­is­trate Michael Carey said back­pack­ers steal­ing from Coles Dar­win was a com­mon oc­cur­rence.

‘‘The stupid part is you had more than enough money to pay for it.’’

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