A Queanbeyan man arrested after suspected looting at North Nowra during the South Coast bushfire emergency earlier this year has been jailed for 12 months.
Daniel Chasty-Hay, 30, was arrested by police in Pitt Street, North Nowra around 10.30am on Monday, January 6 after members of the public raised issues of suspicious activity and possible looting.
He failed to appear in Nowra Local Court on January 13, to face charges of possessing housebreaking implements, having goods in custody, possessing a knife in public place and outstanding warrants and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Court papers said South Coast Police patrolling North Nowra, Bangalee, Budgong and Tapitallee after reports of suspicious activity in the areas saw Chasty-Hay acting suspiciously in North Nowra.
Officers stopped and spoke to him before conducting a search which found a knife, a jemmy bar, torches, plyers, military badges, a metallic container containing an amount of now out of circulation Australian one and two cent coins and a Visa debit card which wasn't his.
He told police he was "out for a walk, looking for a bush track", later saying he was "looking for a mate".
He was arrested and taken to Nowra Police Station, where he told police he had the 14 centimetre folding knife because he was homeless and was residing at the homeless shelter in Nowra, yet his identification showed he was from the ACT.
He also allegedly told police he was on the South Coast "sheltering in relation to the bushfires".
He said he found the Visa card on the roadway at Nowra and hadn't been able to hand it in to police and claimed the coins and military badges were from a deceased grandfather who lived in Bomaderry, yet police inquiries failed to find any trace of the man having lived in the area.
As for the tools he was carrying he told police they were "tools he used in his employment as a steelworker" and "had been out of work since November 2019".
Chasty-Hay was rearrested by police on March 12.
In Nowra Local Court, Magistrate Michael Stoddart convicted Chasty-Hay of the offences and sentenced him to 12 months' jail with a non-parole period of nine months.
He will be first eligible for release In December.
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