Spanos Supa IGA Gatton on March 18, 2020. Pictures: Dominic Elsome
Spanos Supa IGA Gatton on March 18, 2020. Pictures: Dominic Elsome

Supermarket meat manager busted stealing from Gatton store

A qualified trade butcher and supermarket department manager has put check seals on meat products before putting them into black bags and leaving without paying.

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David Andrew Tasker, 54, pleaded guilty in the Gatton Magistrates Court on Monday February 22, after he was caught stealing from Spano's SUPA IGA in Gatton, where he was employed.

Police prosecutor senior sergeant Al Windsor told the court Tasker was seen stealing from the meat department that he was managing on three separate occasions during 2020.

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Senior sergeant Windsor said another staff member at the supermarket alerted the store manager that they witnessed a "dodgy incident" in the store's stockroom.

He said the supermarket maintained a policy that staff who purchased items from the store during work hours must receive a "check seal" from the front service manager, confirming they have paid for the goods.

The court was told that on October 20, 2020, Tasker was seen by another member of staff putting meat trays into a black bag in the meat section, and put the check seals on the products himself.

Tasker then showed the items to a checkout operator before exiting the store.

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A week later on October 28, Tasker was again "observed" leaving the store with a trolley full of meat products that had check seals attached, however no payment had been made.

Then two days later, Tasker was busted on CCTV stealing bread, milk and ginger beer from the store on October 30.

The IGA store manager referred the matter to police who questioned Tasker about the three incidents.

The court was told Tasker made admission to the "act of stupidity" and called himself an "idiot".

Tasker's solicitor James Ryan said his client was a qualified butcher who was suffering from severe mental health issues, including PTSD.

Mr Ryan said Tasker had formerly worked as a prison guard where he "witnessed several suicides".

He described the incidents last year as "out of character" and "irrational behaviour" and that Tasker was "heavily medicated" for his health concerns.

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Magistrate Peter Saggers said it was a "stupid action and serious offence" that Tasker had committed.

Mr Saggers appreciated Tasker had "been through a lot" but it was "such a foolish thing to do".

Mr Saggers fined Tasker $750, referred to SPER.

No conviction was recorded.