A sneaky thief who continually changed his techniques to evade detection at some of Australia’s biggest department stores has been jailed after his ruse came undone.
James Samuel Baumgart, 33, tampered with barcodes and price tags at JB Hi-Fi, Telstra and Big W among other stores.
He had stolen more than $1,700 worth of items since March but already owed the government more than $30,000 in unpaid penalties and fines as detailed in his 16-page criminal history.
Baumgart faced Maryborough Magistrates Court on Monday, charged with a number of fraud and shoplifting offences.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of stealing, two counts of attempted fraud, one count of fraud and one count of trespassing.
James Samuel Baumgart (pictured) was sentenced to 15-months prison, after a shoplifting spree added to his already existing debt of more than $30,000
The court heard how he would alter his shoplifting techniques from store to store, using tricks he’d learn from years of stealing from establishments.
He would swap barcodes between items, remove tags in dressing rooms and collaborate with others he had met in prison.
His constantly changing approaches to stealing was not enough in the end to outsmart police.
Baumgart was caught targeting stores in Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Maryborough.
He’d been performing his cons since March, less than a month after he was released from jail on parole for previous offences.
Baumgart was taken into custody on May 18.
Police Prosecutor Michael Quirk said there was ‘no doubt’ that Baumgart intended to resell the items he stole.
Baumgart will be eligible for parole on December 23.
Baumgart (pictured) was caught by police after a three-month shoplifting spree, stealing more than $1,700 from Queensland businesses
The court heard as Baumgart and an accomplice would target JB Hi-Fi stores, switching labels to get lower prices (stock image)