A GLADSTONE man caught with a jewel box taken from the Vinnies charity store was labelled by a magistrate as being 'desperate' to do such a thing.
In the morning gloom Gladstone police took a double-take at the sight of two men walking - one carrying a big jewel box, the other lugging two suitcases.
It was 4am on January 21 so the curious officers stopped and spoke to Michael Godfrey and his mate.
Police prosecutor Gavin Reece told Gladstone Magistrates Court the officers suspected the goods had come from outside the Vinnies charity store as they had seen similar goods there earlier that night.
Police said the suitcases the second man had was full of clothes.
Godfrey, 36, pleaded guilty to being in possession of a stolen property, a jewellery box. His mate is still to appear before the court.
Lawyer Jun Pepito said Godfrey admits the jewellery box came from Vinnies just around the corner from where police saw him.
He said all the items had been returned to the store.
LISTEN: Court reporter Ross Irby explains the case
Mr Pepito said Godfrey accepted responsibility for having the stolen jewellery box and knew the items came from the charity store and that night he just happened to be with the person that he was walking around with.
He said Godfrey was also looking for work.
Magistrate Penelope Hay queried the lawyer on whether his client had drug issues.
Mr Pepito consulted Godfrey seated beside him then replied 'No'.
Ms Hay said the reason she asked this was that there had been no criminal offending by Godfrey until recently but there had been a drugs offence back in 2011.
"You must have hit a new low to possess items stolen from a charity store that are to benefit people who are poor," Ms Hay told Godfrey.
"What level of desperation are you in.
"It really is quite appalling."
Ms Hay fined Godfrey $500.