A fraudster successfully scammed Bunnings out of $270,000 with a stunningly simple plot which involved walking out through the nursery exit with stolen goods.
But brazen Andrew Alasdair Ryan and his accomplice wife Tania Leonard’s scheme came undone in part due to a 15-year-old boy on-selling the products on Gumtree.
Court documents have laid bare how Ryan, 47 and his now ex-wife, 41, rorted the popular warehouse chain to live a ‘lavish lifestyle’ in Tamborine, Queensland.
From January 2016 until the end of 2018, mastermind Ryan would walk into a Bunnings store, buy some items and leave, a court fact sheet said.
‘He (then) returned to the store and selected the same items off the shelf,’ the parties agreed.
Then Ryan would walk out via the nursery or timber area with his ill-gotten gains, showing staff his original receipt as ‘proof of purchase’.
Tania Leonard (above) has split with her scammer husband Andrew Alasdair Ryan and fallen in love with a personal trainer (pictured), who was not involved in the scam in any way.
Ryan and Leonard defrauded Bunnings out of $270,000, which included $215,000 worth of goods which were then on-sold, Brisbane’s District Court heard
Ryan’s plot involved the use of old receipts and walking out of the store via the Bunnings garden centre exit – but they did get caught, with Ryan jailed for five years
Later, Ryan would return to Bunnings and get a refund on the original items he had bought.
‘As a result, he would not be out of pocket and would have items for free,’ the court facts said.
Ryan’s scam involved multiple trips to Bunnings a day, every couple of days.
Ryan would often sell the stolen goods to people on Gumtree as well as friends and neighbours, and make himself a tidy profit.
Sometimes what Ryan did was just simple theft.
He would distract shop attendants and walk out with items including lawn mowers, air conditioners, fans, tools, building equipment and more.
‘It is not possible to quantify the amount of items that Ryan stole from Bunnings,’ the parties agreed in court documents.
Leonard was simply an accomplice to her husband. Court facts said she sometimes drove the stolen goods away from the store.
Leonard with her new man, above. She was handed community services orders by the court and ordered to pay back about $12,000 in compensation
At one point she returned property to Bunnings that her husband had taken.
Her accounts and cards were used in the plot on 51 occasions, court documents said.
The pair’s scam began to unravel when Bunnings hired private investigators to examine why the store’s goods kept on showing up for sale on Gumtree at a heavy discount.
The private eyes found the items were being sold by a 15-year-old boy – who was sourcing the products from Ryan.
An audit by the store found ‘anomalies in purchases and refunds’ by Ryan. And the hardware chain made a formal complaint to police in January 2018.
Police raided the Ryan family’s home on November 15 that year and found 137 items there that were suspected to have been stolen from Bunnings.
Eighteen months later, Brisbane’s District Court last week heard how the pair used their ill-gotten gains to fund their lifestyle. They lived at a five bedroom ‘ranch’ style rental property in Tamborine on 53 acres with five paddocks for horses.
Andrew Alasdair Ryan and Leonard used their ill-gotten gains to fund a lavish lifestyle – including living in a five bedroom ranch in Tamborine, in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region
The sprawling mansion-style property featured an in-ground pool and Bali-style gazebo on 53 acres (above)
Friends of the Ryan family realised something was amiss when their prized horse Daisy Lane Huntsman (above) went up for auction and the Queensland Police Service was the vendor
A separate theft also allowed the couple to buy their two daughters a $50,000 equestrian horse, Daisy Lane Huntsman, which was later auctioned off by the Queensland Police Service.
Both Ryan and Leonard were both convicted of fraud, stealing and possessing tainted property charges last week.
Ryan was sentenced to a total of five years and seven months imprisonment, but was eligible for parole as of last Wednesday.
Leonard was ordered to pay back $12,000 in compensation and will have to complete 150 hours of community service. Both received convictions.
The husband and wife have since split – with Leonard hooking up with a local personal trainer while she was out on bail.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest that the PT had any knowledge or involvement of his new flame’s crimes.