Wreak havoc with pricey cars by throwing chemical stripper on their fancy paint jobs, and you could lose your house.
Grant Wynne, ABC News
| Gilles Gaudet|
That’s the hard lesson learned by Gilles Gaudet, a West Australian public servant whose paint-stripper spree damaged some 150 autos.
Gaudet escaped jail time by pleading guilty to charges of vandalizing the cars between December 2010 and October 2011, according to news reports. He got a two-year suspended jail term thanks to his cooperation in the case and his agreement to pay for the damages of up to $400,000. Gaudet reportedly will sell his house to help pay the steep price for his crime.
Ironically, Gaudet is an official with Western Australia’s Department of Corrective Services.
Previous news reports from down under said Gaudet, 46, pleaded guilty to 151 counts of willfully and unlawfully damaging motor vehicles by using a syringe to spray paint stripper on vehicles parked in driveways and lots. Gaudet targeted pricey BMWs, Mercedes, Audis, and Alfa-Romeos, the reports said.
The defendant’s lawyer said his client was “extremely remorseful” for his deeds, which were triggered by “a combination of mental health problems including obsessive-compulsive, depressive, anxiety, and personality disorders,” according to the reports.
But the lawyer, Seamus Rafferty, disputed police reports that Gaudet was motivated by some sort of class-warfare vendetta.
“It was not a situation of someone having an axe to grind in terms of society,” Rafferty said.
Other reports said Gaudet was suffering from personality disorders including obsessive-compulsive behavior and anxiety. Also mentioned was his belief that damaging the cars and getting them off the road would lessen the risk of accidents that could harm his family.
In news reports on Gaudet’s guilty plea, Rafferty urged the court to spare his client from jail time, saying he was undergoing psychiatric treatment and was willing to pay restitution. He said Gaudet was influenced by some kind of “irrational notion” that taking the cars off the road would lessen the risk of accidents.
More on the story: Public servant avoids jail for paint stripping cars.