A NANNEELLA man responsible for a rural crime spree near Rochester used his parents’ shed to store swathes of stolen property while they were away in Queensland, a court has heard.
Jacob Jenkins, 25, committed a range of burglaries on some of his neighbours and a former employer, and sold the farm equipment for the drug ice.
He pleaded guilty in the Bendigo County Court on Wednesday to seven counts of theft, two counts of burglary, three counts of firearm theft, six counts of handling stolen goods and other offences.
The court heard Jenkins’ parents traveled to Queensland from November 30 to December 27 last year – coinciding directly with his period of offending.
His crime spree started on November 30 when he attempted to steal an $80,000 excavator from a Nanneella property. He loaded it onto a trailer which could not handle the load, and attempted to hide the excavator under some willow trees.
It was found two days later, after Jenkins made a second attempt to transport it.
Jenkins stole a tandem trailer from another Nanneella property on December 24, while the property owner was away for Christmas. Police spotted him driving away at high speed in a stolen ute.
Police investigated a number of properties in the area and found a nearby house that had been broken into. A gun safe had been ripped off its hinges and a number of rifles were missing.
Also on Christmas Eve, Jenkins broke into a house in Wyuna and stole a shotgun and ammunition.
He targeted a Rochester factory and stole a number of items.
Jenkins’ parents returned home on December 27 and called police when they found a range of suspected stolen items in their shed, including a Honda motorbike, trailers and tools.
Jenkins was arrested in Rochester on January 3.
His phone was found to contain pictures of stolen property and text messages relating to the exchange of items for cash and drugs.
He was also found to be trafficking a small quantity of ice.
Defence counsel Russell Kelly said Jenkins’ offending was motivated by his crippling ice addiction.
“This is a classic drug addict stealing everything they can to sell it to get the ice,” he said.
“Effectively he went on a rampage of stealing, there’s no shying away from the aggravating circumstances of clearing out people’s houses at Christmas.”
Jenkins told the court he has struggled to address his drug problem.
“Ice just takes over again,” he said.
Judge Jane Patrick said ice was common among “hard working” people who failed to recognise the risks.
“What I gather is people seem to party hard, play hard, work hard, it’s all fine. Then the addiction gets you and you end up destroying your brain and destroying your life,” she said.
“It’s a very insidious problem.”
Jenkins will be sentenced on Friday.