Gympie region teen faces court over stolen cars
BEING 17 years old at the time of his first crime has not protected a Glenwood teenager from facing the full force of the law for his role in two car thefts.
Ryan Mitchell Kuhl, now 19, appeared in court supported by his family this week to plead guilty to two charges of unlawful use of a car.
The first, a red 1991 Daihatsu, was taken from outside the caravan of a 68-year-old Gympie retiree on June 10 last year at 7.20pm.
It was found abandoned in Ada St two days later.
On June 20 this year a black 2003 Mercedes was taken from Goldfields shopping centre.
The car was seen driving in the Beerburrum State Forest at midday the following day, and later found dumped and on fire.
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Police prosecutor Sergeant Lisa Manns said Kuhl told police he had been given the car in Caboolture by a friend.
He knew it had been stolen, she said, and drove it into the forest to get rid of it.
However, he crashed several times and the car "caught fire on its own”.
Solicitor Chris Anderson told the court Kuhl "regrets the use of the vehicle” and now regularly meets with the Youth Justice Office in an effort to turn his life around.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan was left to decide whether Kuhl should be sentenced as a youth or adult, given his age at the time of the first offence.
Ultimately, he said there was no "undue delay” in Kuhl being charged over the Daihatsu as the fingerprints found were only recently matched with Kuhl.
And although Kuhl had been living with a "bad element in... your extended family”, this did not excuse his actions.
"You didn't cause the arson, you've not been charged with it... (but) you were the cause of the damage to it (the car).”
"You've got to be responsible,” he said.
Kuhl was given 15 months probation, but no conviction was recorded.
He was also unable to order restitution for the damaged car as no amount had been given.
However he said Kuhl could expect a call in the future.
"No doubt the woman or her insurance company will contact you later,” Mr Callaghan said.