A 19-year-old man who took a charity donation box from a shopping centre and made away with $3.50 has been fined $500.
Ricky Paul Heffernan’s solicitor told the court her client was homeless when he went into Green Hills Shopping Centre with a juvenile about 10.20pm on December 19, last year.
The pair picked up the East Maitland Lioness Club charity donations wishing well and carried it down the escalator through the underground car park and into nearby bushland.
Heffernan, whose registered address is Farnsworth Street, Thornton, broke open the lock to the coin bucket that had been emptied earlier in the day.
Three dollars and 50 cents in loose change was stolen from the box.
Court documents said the incident was captured on CCTV, which clearly showed the faces of Heffernan and his co-accused.
At the time of the offence Heffernan was on a good behaviour bond for possessing housebreaking implements.
In Maitland Local Court yesterday his solicitor said Heffernan was desperate for money when he stole the box, admitting that it was the dumbest thing he had ever done.
She said he was contrite and embarrassed by the act and had since found permanent accommodation.
The magistrate Alice Viney described the crime as distasteful and disturbing to steal from a charity.
“If you appear back before this court again the days of bonds will be over,” Ms Viney said.
On his return from the Forum Sentencing Program, Heffernan pleaded guilty to theft.
He was fined $500 and placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond.
His previous bond was revoked and reinstated.