No memory as thief wakes surrounded by stolen property
A LEGAL professional with an Ipswich law firm has been held in jail after a police pursuit and a rampant crime spree fuelled by booze and drugs.
Estelle Maree Pauli, 29, appeared in the dock of Ipswich Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to more than 30 charges.
The court heard how she would wake-up after excessive drinking and find herself surrounded by mystery objects that she'd stolen but could not remember.
Pauli made her pleas after spending 52 days held in custody.
The offences include dangerous operation of a vehicle; failing to stop for police on March 5; driving unlicensed; driving when court disqualified; possession of dangerous drugs; unlawful possession of restricted drugs; 12 counts of stealing; forgery and uttering; fraud; entering premises and stealing; receiving tainted property; and breaches of her bail conditions.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris O'Neill said in one haul, Pauli stole $3000 worth of gear from a shed used by the Springfield Lakes Netball club.
The August 14 theft included a $600 portable gazebo, gas bottles and a hot water urn owned by Ipswich City Council.
Two days before Christmas Pauli walked out of a store after grabbing a $380 pair of Burberry sunglasses.
In one incident, police say Pauli, a disqualified driver, was behind the wheel of a black Commodore and clearly saw officers close by. Instead of staying she put on a pair of sunglasses and sped off.
Sgt O'Neill said police activated sirens and flashing lights before Pauli crossed onto the wrong side of the road and overtook a car on a sweeping right-hand bend.
Her manoeuvre forced the driver of an oncoming green Ford Festiva to take evasive action to avoid a head-on collision.
Pauli also did petrol drive-offs worth $73 and $20.
In another theft Pauli walked into a Dan Murphy's liquor store with a female friend then both ran off after grabbing alcohol.
Pauli put the bottles of alcohol into her bag including Johnny Walker Scotch and Wild Turkey Bourbon.
In another theft she and a female co-offender ran off from a store with two vacuum cleaners worth $600.
Sgt O'Neill said Pauli went into Bunnings at West Ipswich with a male and they selected a box of CCTV equipment (worth $388) before they both ran out with it.
Pauli also stole liquor including Cognac and bottles of Scotch valued at $387.
Her thefts included a five-tier shelving unit worth $258 where she again walked out of a store without paying.
A McDonald's in Bellbird Park was dudded when Pauli, seated in a silver VW Polo sedan, handed a $50 counterfeit note to a drive-through cashier to buy a coffee. Pauli received $45 change before the cashier realised the $50 note was counterfeit.
In another incident she went to the returns desk of a store in an attempt to get a refund on a rug and another item that she'd only picked up in the store moments before.
Pauli was charged with receiving tainted property after registration plates were removed from a VW Polo hatch at a Maroochydore car dealership on July 30.
She was also involved when handbags valued at $400 were taken away from a David Jones store on July 6 but later retrieved by vigilant staff.
On August 9 police found Pauli with small amounts of methylamphetamine and drug utensils.
Sgt O'Neill said it was some-what of a crime spree done at a time where it was apparent by her conduct Pauli had "lifestyle issues".
Police sought a jail term of six to nine months with immediate parole release because of her time in custody.
Defence lawyer Zara Rudan said Pauli was a senior consultant, a para-legal, and mother to three children.
Ms Rudan said Pauli instructs that the offending was the result of her excessive drinking "then stepped up by significant drug use" that included medication Xanax.
"The vacuum cleaners, sports equipment and hardware she has poor recollection (of how she got them)," Ms Rudan said.
"She would often wake-up surrounded by these unusual items.
"She surrendered to police when she saw herself on Facebook and when she knew that she was wanted."
Ms Rudan said Pauli had made some efforts while in jail with narcotics anonymous classes and Bible studies.
It was her first time in jail, and Ms Rudan sought her release to supervised probation.
Sgt O'Neill said police sought $4686 restitution as Pauli's share in the offending.
Magistrate Melanie Ho said the offences began soon after Pauli was convicted and fined $1000 last December for a stealing offence.
The failure to stop and dangerous operation were regarded as her most serious offences as was the theft of $3000 goods from the sports shed belonging to Ipswich City Council.
Ms Ho accepted evidence that Pauli was in a volatile relationship and her husband had earlier been sentenced on some similar offences.
"They were fuelled by alcohol and drugs and a volatile relationship," Ms Ho said.
Pauli was ordered to do 50 days jail for the dangerous operation/failure to stop, but (with time served) given immediate release and ordered to serve a two year probation.
Her licence was disqualified for two years. She must pay restitution for her crimes.