Target cashier stole to help mate with drug debt

A TARGET Country cashier stole hundreds of dollars by giving 'cash out' payments to friends at the check-out.

The money was intended to help a mate who was apparently being threatened over unpaid drug debts to a Gladstone amphetamine dealer.

Gladstone Magistrates Court was told Kaleb Murray, 18, stole on three occasions in March and April while working as a clerk/servant, and also fraudulently produced false invoices of the transactions.

He pleaded guilty to all six offences involving a total of $550.

Prosecutor Sgt Merrilyn Hoskins said the Target Country loss prevention officer and a store manager began an investigation into sums of money that had gone missing from the store tills and reviewed CCTV footage.

In one incident a woman paid $1 for a chocolate bar to Murray and asked for cash out of $1.50.

Murray gave her $150 cash.

In another incident the same young woman purchased a $2 pack of Easter eggs and asked for $2 cash out - instead Murray gave her $200.

He had also used another cashier's operational identity to complete the transaction.

In the third offence Murray gave a male friend $200 when he card swiped an eftpos machine but had not purchased anything.

Defence lawyer Nikki Wawryk said Murray was 17 at the time of the offences and a Year 12 student.

"He has a school friend involved in the drug ice who had accumulated a debt to drug dealers in Gladstone and could not repay and was receiving threats," she said.

"He devised this scheme which led to his offending."

Murray, an AFL player, pleaded that a conviction not be recorded as he was considering a career in the Defence Force.

Magistrate Penelope Hay said it was "unsophisticated offending".

She took into account his young age and the circumstances that Murray was trying to help a friend with a drug debt although it was no excuse.

Ms Hay warned Murray that he had abused a position of trust and it was not unusual for offenders to receive a jail sentence.

He was fined $500 and ordered to pay restitution of $544.50 to the store. A conviction was not recorded.

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