After 14 years, price for stealing $3.65 is a $1000 fine

IT TOOK 14 years to bring Troy John Newland to justice, but the long arm of the law finally caught up with him.

His crime? Stealing $3.65 from a Telstra pay phone in Woodridge, a suburb of Logan, on May 13, 2000.

That long-ago offence has now cost the Tinana man $1000.

Newland appeared in Maryborough Magistrates Court this week and pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with Telstra facilities and stealing property of the Commonwealth.

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Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Elder told the court Newland had stuck two bits of wire into the coin slot to try to get coins out of the phone box.

When confronted by police, who were responding to reports of a man acting suspiciously, Newland said he had been trying to get a coin which had become stuck out of the phone box.

But witnesses had seen him tampering with another phone box nearby and he soon admitted he had tried to rob the phone box "because he needed money for milk, bread and cigarettes".

When Newland failed to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court later that year, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

But the matter remained unresolved for 14 years and it was not made clear in court how the past had finally caught up with Newland.

The court heard Newland, now 42, was a groundsman at a Maryborough caravan park.

When asked by magistrate John Smith if he would like to add a comment Newland declined, simply saying "I'm sorry for what I've done".

Mr Smith fined Newland $500 for each charge.