Who's who at the Zoo?
A Gulgong man, alleged to have misrepresented himself as an employee of Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo, has had fraud charges against him adjourned to Mudgee Local Court on September 17.
Police facts tendered to the court last week state that from September last year to February this year, Adrian Timothy Simpson, 19, of Stubbo Road went on a masquerade of falsely claiming to be a Western Plains Zoo employee.
It is alleged his escapade began in Gulgong when he produced business cards from the zoo in his name as big cat handler and big cat manager.
He then purchased a scanner from Dick Smith Electronics at Dubbo and charged it to the zoo using a zoo order form.
Simpson continued his charade when he approached Ian Bateman of Roadrunners at Dubbo for sponsorship of an animal rescue vehicle. Roadrunners supplied the flashing lights and delivered its equipment, on Simpson’s instructions, to Amy Turner of Snelsons Lane Gulgong.
The following month, Simpson was driving a vehicle bearing Western Plains Zoo stickers on both sides when it is alleged that he drove two people around the zoo and utilised the scanner purchased from Dick Smith Electronics.
At the time he was said to have had an assistant named Amy with him and that they were both wearing Western Plains Zoo shirts similar to the ones sold in the zoo’s souvenir shop.
He is then alleged to have applied for work firstly at a koala hospital in Port Macquarie late last year and then, in January, applied to the Melbourne Zoo.
On both occasions he is said to have purported to have been employed at Western Plains Zoo and indicated to the koala hospital that he was the senior carnivore keeper.
While in the Port Macquarie area he was stopped by police at North Haven for being suspected of driving a vehicle using flashing red and blue lights and at the time told police he worked at Western Plains Zoo.
On January 14, Zoos Victoria received an application for employment from Simpson and on this occasion he is alleged to have supplied a certificate in his name from Tropical North Queensland TAFE for a “Certificate III in Captive Animal Care and Management”.
The TAFE state there is no such course run at the TAFE and that Simpson has never been enrolled at the TAFE.
Police executed a search warrant at Simpson’s home address on February 21 and located a set of red/blue flashing lights; Western Plains Zoo business cards in Simpson’s name that were similar to ones presented at a Gulgong supermarket and reports in Simpson’s name and Western Plains Zoo identity tags in Simpson’s name.
Police also found a tax invoice for the red/blue flashing lights for $1900.55, a letter to Dick Smith Electronics authorising the purchase of the scanner and was signed in the name of Maria Finnigan and some large magnets depicting the Western Plains Zoo logo.
All these located items have been identified by Western Plains Zoo as being fraudulent.
Numerous other items relating to zoos were also located at Simpson’s address, identified and seized.
Simpson is charged with make false instrument, obtain money by deception, fraudulent personation with intent to commit fraud, two counts of use false instrument and two counts of have false instrument.
Simpson was represented by Mudgee solicitor Allan Hogan when he appeared before Registrar Tony Goodwin in Mudgee Local Court last week.
When adjourning the matter to September 17, Mr Goodwin continued Simpson’s bail conditions.