Police find torch thief lying in a ditch

WALKING home drunk in the dark around 5am, James Dean Kranz wandered into a stranger's house at New Auckland and took a torch.

Police called to the scene found him nearby in bushes. Kranz no longer had the torch.

Gladstone Magistrates Court was told Kranz had not been hiding from police that night, but had fallen and was quite happy officers found him.

Kranz, 32, pleaded guilty to attempted entry of a dwelling with intent by break in Dorset Close on April 14.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing a torch, stealing a packet of cigarettes from a car, not paying for fuel on March 27, and driving on the Dawson Highway on March 27 when disqualified by a court order. His vehicle was then impounded.

Prosecutor Snr Sgt Mark Gorton said the fuel theft charge involved Kranz leaving his name and address with the service station attendant but failing to come back and pay.

When shown CCTV footage Kranz told police: "Yep that was me. My mate wouldn't give me the money."

Snr Sgt Gorton said Kranz had ditched the torch when police caught up with him in the bushes at New Auckland.

A probation and parole officer said alcohol was a factor in Kranz's offending that began after his well-paid job ended 15 months ago and he spent his savings.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said the night he took the torch Kranz was drinking with a mate and intended to walk home.

"He was not hiding but actually fell into a ditch. It was a lucky coincidence police found him there as he was just lying there in the ditch," Mr Pepito said.

Magistrate Penelope Hay took into account Kranz did leave his name and address at the service station, and that alcohol had become a problem since he became unemployed.

Kranz was placed on a 12 month probation order to be supervised and receive counselling. He was disqualified from driving for two years and fined $300.

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