Red Rooster fraudster caught red handed
A THIEF'S plan to steal money was cooked when he was caught red-handed defrauding a Red Rooster store of more than $20,000.
Patrick Sydney Peter Dawes, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of stealing by clerks and servants when he fronted Townsville Magistrate Court today.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Dean Roper said over a six-week period from December 2016- January 2017 Dawes stole from his former boss, who owns the Red Rooster franchise at Fairfield Waters in Idalia.
Working as a store manager, Dawes was responsible for managing the money being banked.
The court heard CCTV footage showed Dawes taking money directly from the till and placing it into his own bag.
When the suspicious store owner confronted him, he initially denied it, but later confessed everything in an email.
Police found numerous bank bags in Dawes' home after conducting a raid.
Defence barrister Justin Greggery said the man had already paid back some of the money to his former employer.
Mr Greggery said Dawes was suffering from embarrassment as well as depression and poor mental health that required medication.
"There was a high degree of public shaming … as a result of some contact made by A Current Affair program he received some national adverse publicity," he said.
Magistrate Scott Luxton said Dawes' theft was a major breach of trust between an employee and their employer.
Dawes was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment to be wholly suspended for two years.
He was ordered to pay back the outstanding $17,517 he still owed.
Conviction was recorded.
Outside of court, store owner Danielle Beltramelli said she has suffered severe financial hardship since Dawes stole from her.
"The impact was massive, we had zero spare money as a small business, with him taking absolutely everything," she said.
"I still had staff wages to pay, bills and rent to pay, so I had to max out many credit cards.
"Not only did he steal that money, I'm still slowly trying to crawl my way back to be financial stable."
Ms Beltramelli said his betrayal was "devastating".
"I didn't believe it at first, I didn't think it would happen to me so I've been on a mission to make sure he doesn't do this again to anybody else," she said.