Man avoids prison for opportunistic theft of work van from Warnbro Fair Shopping Centre

MORE than four years after an opportunistic theft of a Poolmart van from the Warnbro Fair Shopping Centre the offender was caught out by his fingerprint.

The offender, Ian Stewart Mellowship, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced at the Supreme Court on April 11.

About 2pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 a worker for Poolmart Warnbro parked his work van out the front of the shop.

He went inside to collect something but left the keys in the van where they could be seen.

About this time, Mellowship was near the parked van and noticed the keys in it as he walked past.

Checking to see if anyone was around, he got into the van and started it.

The worker ran from the shop and tried to get into the passenger side by holding on to the side of the van.

Mellowship then drew a knife and threatened to kill the worker if he did not get out of the van.

The worker kept holding on so Mellowship swerved from side to side and the victim fell.

Mellowship drove away and a customer who saw him drive away found the van about 10 minutes later abandoned in Port Kennedy.

Police did forensic testing on the van and identified Mellowship through a fingerprint.

He was arrested by police on March 29, 2016.

Judge Katrina Banks-Smith said a report stated Mellowship had gone through a relationship breakdown at the time and did not have any money for food or water, and wanted to visit his partner so he walked from Madora to visit her in Port Kennedy.

He told police he was not under the influence of drugs at the time and had acted out of desperation.

She said it was an opportunistic offence and he had shown insight and remorse into his offending.

“There have been considerable savings to the State and the criminal justice system as a result of your plea and the victim of your offence has been spared the stress of having to give evidence and relive the event,” she said.

“In my view, your plea reflects an intention to accept responsibility for your offending and facilitate the course of justice.”

He was a given a suspended sentence of 21 months suspended for 15 months with supervision and programme requirements.