Pawn shop worker stole guitars, tools

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Rockingham courthouse.
Camera IconRockingham courthouse. Credit: WA News

A pawn shop employee who stole more than $13,000 in cash and goods from his employer has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.

Joel Benjimin Weston appeared in Rockingham Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where he was sentenced for the offences.

He had previously pleaded guilty to 31 counts of stealing as a servant and one count of gaining benefit by fraud.

The court was previously told between July and December last year, Weston was working at a pawnbroker in Rockingham.

When Weston saw certain items he liked, ranging from electric and acoustic guitars, tools and cameras, he would move them to the rear door of the business before moving them to the car when no one was around.

He also created false purchase documents, where he would enter transactions into the pawn shop’s system using customer’s names and then taking money for himself.

The offending was uncovered when discrepancies were found during an audit.

Details of a mediation report were read in court, which revealed that the impact of the offending on the business was severe and that it had nearly gone under.

Magistrate Robert Young said companies hired employees to act in the best interest of their business but that Weston had helped himself to money that wasn’t his.

It was revealed in court that Weston had been convicted of similar offences in the past, which Magistrate Young labelled as a “concerning feature of dishonesty” on his record.

Weston had previously faced court for stealing as a servant in 2007, and had charges ranging from burglary, fraud and stealing a few years later.

“This is potentially indicative of a mindset where you have some perception of financial needs and desires but no funds ... so you use others’ money,” he said.

Addressing Magistrate Young during the sentencing hearing, Weston said he had made efforts to pay back his ex-employer.

“I’ve had a long hard look at what I’ve done,” he said.

Mr Young placed Weston on a nine-month suspended imprisonment order, which was suspended for 12 months.

He will also be required to pay back $11,210 to the business owner.

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