Grocery thief was 'struggling financially'
A SADLIERS Crossing bricklayer had been nicked by police for stealing goods from an Ipswich supermarket.
Then on the ride home he racially abused and punched a taxi driver in the face.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick told Ipswich Magistrates Court that Troy Michael Rowntree, 33, assaulted a Yellow Cabs driver after being driven from the Riverlink Shopping Centre to his home at Sadliers Crossing on May 9.
Rowntree was in the taxi with two children and another male passenger who the driver recognised as a fare evader.
When the taxi stopped, the other man got out saying his wallet was in the boot with the groceries.
Sgt Dick said that when the driver attempted to close the boot (and be paid) Rowntree punched him in the left side of his face.
Sgt Dick said Rowntree made racist and abusive comments to the driver, who had locked himself inside the taxi and called police.
Rowntree pleaded guilty to stealing at North Ipswich on May 9; assaulting a man on May 9; contravening a police direction; and failing to appear at court on August 24.
Sgt Dick said that at 2.15pm (before the taxi incident) Rowntree stole goods from Woolworths at the shopping centre.
Rowntree went to the self-serve checkout with a trolley of groceries and staff observed he scanned only some goods.
Police detained him and located goods valued at $70.80 that had not been paid for.
Defence lawyer Daniel Boddice said Rowntree was a father of five who intended doing rehabilitation for his drug addiction to methamphetamine.
"He was unemployed at the time and struggling financially," Mr Boddice said.
Rowntree was sentenced to nine months jail for the assault and fined $200, and to a four- month jail term for stealing, to be served concurrently.
He received an additional three-month jail term for failing to appear at court, making a total sentence of 12 months.
Rowntree was given immediate parole and warned to comply with conditions.