Hat-napper hops aways as granddad gives chase

A HAT thief was chased by a Gladstone man after walking into the family home at night wearing the owner's kangaroo-hide cowboy hat.

Police prosecutor Nina Sulzer told Gladstone Magistrates Court the home owner saw James Ezekiel Martin inside his New Auckland house at 8.30pm on February 22. Martin, 18, opened a door which squeaked and police were called as he ran off.

New Auckland granddad Kevin was surprised when he confronted the intruder.

"'What the hell are you doing' I yelled out at him. I raced out after him and he went straight up over the rocks and steep embankment," he said.

A woman nearby also told officers a camera and $300 in $50 notes had been stolen from her car.

Ms Sulzer said police found Martin nearby heavily affected by alcohol. A backpack he had contained $300 and a woman's make-up kit.

She said Martin got physically aggressive and struggled with police trying to avoid being handcuffed.

Ms Sulzer said he kicked an officer in the leg and spat mucus and spittle, which also landed on a leg. The teen had left a DNA trail of blood smears from glass cuts he suffered during a series of unrelated breaks into vehicles.

Martin, a mango farm labourer, pleaded guilty to eight offences that included assaulting and obstructing a police officer, break and entering, and stealing.

Magistrate Penelope Hay put him on a supervised Probation Order for 18 months.



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