Man fears teen who stole guns may reoffend

A FARMER says he fears a Bendigo teenager who stole guns from his property is a danger to the community.

Neil Sartori said he was disappointed the teen, who stole rifles and shotguns from his Yandoit farm, was this week spared a jail sentence.

Jesse Long, 19, of North Bendigo, was placed on a Community Corrections Order after pleading guilty to 18 charges, including the theft of guns and trafficking methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.

Mr Sartori said he was concerned Long would re-offend and would continue using and dealing ice.

He said the corrections order did not send the right message to the community.

“It’s saying to him and anyone out there that it’s OK to do this,” he said.

“Especially with the ice trafficking, I couldn't believe he didn't get prison. Ice ruins so many people’s lives. 

"It’s out of control.”

Long pleaded guilty to trafficking ice between March and September this year, while committing a number of break-ins including the theft of eight guns from Mr Sartori’s farm.  

Long and three co-offenders used an angle grinder to remove the gun safe from the floor of the shed. 

Among the stolen weapons was a semi-automatic rifle and an air rifle.

“We’re not talking the theft of a fridge or a TV,” Mr Sartori said.

“There’s guns there you could use to take something out from 2km away.”

The court heard from Long's defence counsel that he had shown remorse for his actions, which was indicated by his early guilty plea.

Magistrate Bruce Cottrill warned Long in his sentencing that if he re-offended he would go to jail.

In a similar case last week a 19-year-old Long Gully man was given a suspended prison sentence for trafficking ice and ecstasy.

Prosecuting, Sergeant David Somerton argued in that case that anything less than an immediate jail sentence was not sending the right message about the dangers of ice.

"This insidious drug has invaded the youth of our community," he said.

"If we don't start sending a strong message we'll have people of a like mind prepared to risk the consequences because there are none."

Mr Sartori said he was frightened to think that Long, and others, had repeatedly committed crimes and were free to potentially re-offend.

“Who’s to say they’re not going to get back on the ice and decide to break in to another house,” he said.

“It's not going to do him any good. It's no good for anyone.”

Victim says corrections order does not send right message

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