A woman who offered a Wollongong man a lift from the police station found she was the one taken for a ride, police allege.
Max George Austin, 34, is charged with one count of larceny after stealing a woman's purse.
At 3.30pm on August 5, a woman gave her son a lift to Lake Illawarra Police station, according to documents tendered to Wollongong Local Court.
When the woman's son exited the police station he was with Austin and asked if his mother would give Austin a lift to Mount Warrigal.
The woman agreed and took the man to a Garrad Avenue address, before she continued to Warilla.
Little did the woman know, the man who was in her back seat is a serial thief with numerous charges of dishonesty against his record.
An hour after arriving home, the woman realised she had left her handbag in the car.
Finding her bag, the woman noticed her purse was missing and after searching through her car couldn't find it.
The woman believed Austin had stolen her purse, police allege.
Later that evening, at 11pm, police were patrolling Mount Warrigal, where they noticed a male entering a taxi.
After talking to the man, police realised it was Austin, who had a court notice for an offence of goods in custody suspected being stolen.
Police documents show that Austin appeared extremely nervous and was unable to answer questions from police.
Believing Austin may have stolen goods and drugs on him, police searched Austin.
Police opened Austin's jacket and found a black Guess purse down the front of his pants.
Police asked Austin where he got the purse, to which he replied that a friend had given it to him to take home.
Police then arrested Austin and took him to Lake Illawarra Police Station.
Court documents state that Austin was too drunk to be interviewed that evening.
After obtaining a statement from the woman, only a silver necklace was found to be missing.
In Wollongong Local Court, registrar Peter West found that despite a lengthy record for dishonesty, Austin could be relied upon to not breach his bail conditions, and granted bail, provided Austin report to police once a day and reside at the Piccadilly Motel in Wollongong.
Austin will return to court on August 16.
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