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Bunnings thief nearly got away with scam – before threatening to stab a manager in Bunbury

A thief who was banned from all Bunnings stores almost got away with $1,300 worth of products before threatening to stab a manager with a syringe.

Christopher John Richards had been issued a prohibition letter at Bunnings in Balcatta in August 2018, saying he was not to enter any stores in Western Australia.

On October 6 last year he defied the order and entered a Bunnings warehouse in Bunbury and managed to walk out with a trolley full of goods.

Christopher John Richards had been issued a prohibition letter at Bunnings in Balcatta in August 2018, saying he was not to enter any stores in Western Australia

The following day Richards stole a pair of Ray Bans from a Sunglass Hut before returning to the same Bunnings, The West Australian reported.

Richards picked up a used receipt he found outside the store and filled a trolley with the same items as well as some other goods, Bunbury Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Karl Rep told the court Richards was approached by a store manager and claimed to be armed with a syringe.

‘He took a boxing stance, swore at staff and said ”if you don’t back off I’m going to stab you with a needle”,’ Sgt Rep said.

Richards then grabbed some pebbles and threw them at the store manager before heading to the exit.

He showed the receipt to checkout staff and walked out of Bunnings with the stolen goods, but was tracked down by police and taken into custody. 

Richards appeared in court via video link from Hakea Prison, where he has remained since being arrested last October, and pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Richards picked up a used receipt he found outside the store and filled a trolley with the same items as well as some other goods, Bunbury Magistrate's Court heard on Friday

Richards picked up a used receipt he found outside the store and filled a trolley with the same items as well as some other goods, Bunbury Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday

Charges included pretending to be armed in a way that may cause fear, threats to injure, endanger or harming any person, three charges of stealing and two trespassing charges.

‘These offences are serious and call for imprisonment,’ Sgt Rep told the court.

Magistrate Michelle Pontifex handed down a sentence of eight months and 15 days, but took into account the amount of time he has spent behind bars since offending.

This means Richard will be released from prison in the coming days.

‘This type of offending is unacceptable, you simply cannot go around doing that,’ Ms Pontifex told Richards. 

She said Richards’ offending was ‘brazen’ but accepted the guilty plea and ordered him to pay Bunnings $1,390 for the stolen goods.

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