David Alan Percy was caught stealing from bags at a park.
David Alan Percy was caught stealing from bags at a park.

Busted: Pickpocketer nabbed in citizens’ arrest

A panicked pickpocketer threw phones towards park-goers he stole them from after realising he’d been sprung, a court has heard.

David Alan Percy was on Tuesday fined $600 for targeting families socialising at Pirate Park at Gympie Tce, Noosaville.

Noosa Magistrates Court heard the 72-year-old was caught rummaging through strangers’ bags in August and November.

Police prosecutor Allison Johnstone said Percy was first seen to be acting “suspiciously” at the park on August 30.

A woman enjoying the day with her family spotted Percy fishing through her bag before pulling out her $800 iPhone.

“The defendant looked around and started to leave the location,” Senior Constable Johnstone said.

“The victim gave chase and she yelled out towards the defendant, requesting he return the phone.

“He looked back, panicked and threw it towards the victim.”

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The woman picked up her phone and quickly snapped a photo of Percy to provide to police.

The court heard police had received another similar report at the park on the same day and Percy declined to be interviewed.

He returned to the park on November 1 when he took another person’s iPhone and walked away.

Members of the public chased Percy and held him until police arrived and arrested him.

Percy on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing.

Duty lawyer Lachlan Ygoa-McKewn said Percy described his actions as mistakes which he regretted.

He said Percy had two adult children and was going through financial difficulties at the time he was caught stealing.

Percy then told the court he owned a property in Noosaville and had moved up from New South Wales last year.

“Strange,” magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said.

No convictions were recorded.