Tow truck driver charged for pinching ‘abandoned’ cars
A TOW truck company worker has been accused of stealing 15 "abandoned" cars left on Hobart roadsides at night and taking them to the crushers.
Anthony Craig O'Connor, 51, appeared in the Hobart Magistrate Court on Thursday via phone link, charged with 15 counts of stealing.
A prosecutor said he took the cars - worth a combined total of $46,000 - and took them to a crushers at Bridgewater.
She said he got $3000 for the vehicles - a sum that he then passed on to his employer, All Tasmanian Towing.
Mr O'Connor was accused of taking the cars, which may have broken down or that appeared to be abandoned, that were parked on the street or in a secluded area.
The prosecutor said among the cars taken were a Toyota Tarago from Proctors Rd, a van from the Southern Outlet and a Mazda 121 at Claremont.
She said Telstra records showed his mobile phone had been present in each location, and alleged that Mr O'Connor had provided incorrect details for the crusher's log book.
"(Mr O'Connor said) he committed the offences to feel valued as an employee and maintain his employment," the prosecutor said.
"He doesn't definitively say his employer knew."
But Mr O'Connor's defence lawyer said he didn't realise they vehicles weren't abandoned, and that some of the locations were given to him by his employer.
"Why would a crushing company crush an $11,000 vehicle? A number of those vehicles were burnt out or damaged and had been there for a significant number of weeks," they argued.
The lawyer said Mr O'Connor had contracted a mild case of COVID-19 while interstate.
Magistrate Robert Webster, in giving an indication of sentence, said he would give Mr O'Connor a nine-month wholly suspended prison sentence if he pleaded guilty.
The case will return to court on February 23 next year.
Originally published as Tow truck driver charged for pinching 'abandoned' cars