Tavern worker took $16,000 to feed drug habit
A PUB employee who stole more than $16,000 from his employer in just over two months to feed a heroin habit has narrowly escaped being sent to jail.
Codey Zach Nowlan, 22, pleaded guilty on Monday in Ipswich Magistrates Court to 25 counts of stealing as a servant.
The offences took place between February and April, 2015 when Nowlan worked at the Raceview Tavern, and their bottleshop at Winston Glades.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Matt Donnelly told the court the total amount Nowlan stole was $16,259.83 and included countless individual transactions per offence.
He said Nowlan was essentially taking money from customers, not putting it through the till and pocketing the money at the end of each shift.
"These offences are extremely serious and are a gross breach of trust," he said.
"The offending was planned, systematic and no restitution has been paid.
"The amounts stolen per offence ranged from several hundred to more than a thousand dollars.
"He did not participate in a police interview and has shown no remorse for his offending."
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said Nowlan had no prior criminal history and had cooperated with the administration of justice after pleading guilty.
He said Nowlan was very ashamed and remorseful for his offending.
"A drug problem, namely heroin, was present at the time of offending," he said.
"That is the only excuse he can give for his offending.
"The offending, while serious, was pretty unsophisticated and it was only a matter of time before he was caught."
Magistrate Virginia Sturgess sentenced Nowlan to 18 months behind bars but ordered he be released on immediate parole.
She further ordered Nowlan pay $16,259.83 restitution to the Raceview Tavern within 12 months.
Magistrate Sturgess told Nowlan if he does not pay the amount within allocated time frame he would serve an automatic six month default jail sentence.
"What the 25 charges do not show is the large number of individual transactions per offence," she said.
"On one charge there were 33 individual transactions totalling more than $1854.
"Overall it is a very large amount of money that was stolen over a very short period of offending and that is concerning."