Wagga Local Court sentences ice-addicted shoplifter to jail after string of drug and larceny charges

A Wagga man has been sent to jail after committing a series of shoplifting offences to feed his drug addiction. 

David Luke Stewart, 26, was already on a good behaviour bond for a string of pre-existing larceny charges when he broke into Mechanical World and stole about $4000 worth of tools in March this year.

Documents tendered to the court revealed Stewart had also committed four other breaches of his bond conditions this year alone.

On February 22, he stole $124 worth of alcohol from a Liquorland store. 

On March 7, Stewart was behaving suspiciously at Wagga’s train station when police discovered a 12 centimetre knife in his pocket.

On April 12, Stewart stole two double sized polar fleece sheet sets from Harris Scarfe on Baylis Street with a total value of $179. 

Finally, Stewart was found to be in possession of a prohibited drug when police discovered two oxcyodene tablets concealed in his baseball cap on April 18. 

Stewart appeared before Wagga Local Court on Tuesday morning via video link from Junee Correctional Centre, when Magistrate Erin Kennedy sentenced him to 14 months in jail with a non-parole period of seven months for the five offences.  

Ms Kennedy said Stewart’s shoplifting was inextricably linked to his addiction to the drug ice, suggesting he would steal petty items like alcohol purely for the purpose of cashing them in for drugs. 

“You will do anything, because you need to get your hands on the substance – because that is controlling your life,” Ms Kennedy said.

“You’re 26-years-old, and your whole life is consumed by ‘where can I get my next hit?’”

The magistrate said a condition of Stewart’s sentence was that he must enter a residential rehabilitation facility upon being granted parole.

“I can see you’re beating yourself up there, you’ve taken responsibility for this, and now you’ve got to decide who you’re going to be in the future,” she said.

“You’ve got to think of it as a spring board – you’re going to spring from (jail) into rehabilitation, and then you’re going to start your new life.”