A homeless man smuggled out pet shop puppies in his underpants for ''companionship'', an Australian court has been told. Andre Jo Michel Saab, 23, was caught on CCTV stealing three puppies from two stores across southeast Queensland earlier this year.
Originally from Brisbane, Saab started out by smuggling a $995 lemon-coloured beagle puppy from the Pet Super Store at Stafford on March 19. On April 28 he returned to the store and ran out with a $890 chihuahua puppy stuffed down his pants. A day later he hit the Puppy Palace at Enoggera and stole a $495 Jack Russell terrier.
Saab pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court to stealing. Solicitor Colin Greatorix said his client had been diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers and self-medicated with ''a cornucopia'' of illicit substances, including heroin, meth, acid, and fantasy. ''When you look at his actions stuffing a puppy down his pants, they are not the actions of a rational human being,'' he said.
Mr Greatorix told the court Saab had a terrible childhood but loved pets and had stolen the dogs for companionship but in turn they were stolen off him when he was kicked out of temporary share accommodation. Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll said Saab's repeated offending put him dangerously close to a jail sentence but agreed rehabilitation through probation was the best course. He convicted and sentenced him to two years probation and ordered him to pay restitution to each store. Saab profusely apologised in court and thanked the magistrate for the second chance.