Backpacker’s drunken spending spree with stolen bank card

A BACKPACKER who thought it was a good idea to use a bank card he found at a bar to purchase alcohol, groceries and a skateboard has been convicted.

Alexandre Lavoie Raymond Blanchard appeared before Byron Bay Local Court on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to larceny for the value less than $2000 and dishonestly obtaining property by deception.

The court heard Mr Blanchard had found an ANZ bank card at the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay while he was out drinking with friends.

He then used the card to make $954 worth of purchases, including spending $197 on alcohol at the bar for his friends, about $85 at restaurants and another $85 worth of groceries.

The French-Canadian backpacker also purchased clothing and bought a $189 skateboard, where he had to make two transactions to use the $100 pay wave function limit on the stolen bank card.

When the card stopped working, Mr Blanchard threw it away on the ground.

Mr Blanchard told the court it was a "really stupid thing" to use the card but explained he was "really drunk" and wasn't making responsible decisions at the time of the purchases.

"It was really hard to not say no (to my friends at the bar) after the card worked," Mr Blanchard said.

"As a poor traveller and a young student, I saw the opportunity to do groceries and do some shopping.

"I thought I was not affecting anybody…but now I know it hurt someone."

Mr Blanchard said he'd spoken with the owner of the bank card and had apologised for his actions.

He had also returned all the goods purchased, except the alcohol consumed.

Despite Mr Blanchard being intoxicated at the time, Magistrate Michael Dakin said he "knew" what he was doing by making "many transactions".

"I look at the items you purchased and other people who benefited using this card," Mr Dakin said.

"Although the ANZ Bank have compensated (the complainant) it for the expenditure, think about if this was your card and someone did this to you and the bank didn't compensate you.

"You would be very angry."

Mr Blanchard was fined $500 and given an 18 months community corrections order.



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