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Man fined $300 for $11 theft

A Southampton man was fined $300 in Magistrates' Court for stealing “water enhancers” costing less than $11.

Frederick Talbot, 66, pleaded guilty to stealing two bottles of Mio Water Enhancer from Heron Bay MarketPlace on October 1.

At around 5.45pm that day staff at the store saw Talbot walk past cashiers with the bottles, each costing $5.45, in his helmet. When confronted outside the store, he denied stealing anything but refused to allow store staff to search his motorcycle.

The staff examined CCTV footage, which showed Talbot removing the bottles from the shelf and exiting the store without paying. They contacted police, who later arrested the defendant at his home.

Talbot, who is unemployed, told the court he forgot that he picked up the bottles and had offered to repay the store, but the store refused.

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner ordered Talbot to pay a $300 fine or face 30 days in prison, questioning why an unemployed person would steal “water enhancers”.

“Why wouldn't you just drink tap water?” he asked.

Another man, 44-year-old Ramon Blanchette, was convicted earlier this month for a nearly identical offence — stealing the same quantity of the same product from the same store — in an incident on July 18. Blanchette, who was already serving a five-year sentence for similar offences, was sentenced to 30 days in prison.

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Published October 30, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 30, 2013 at 12:06 am)

Man fined $300 for $11 theft

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