A BENDIGO man stole five cars, committed 12 petrol station drive-offs and stole two sets of number plates while on the run from police for up to five months, a court has been told.
Aaron Burzacott, 35, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Monday to 46 charges.
His defence counsel Robert Timms claims Burzacott was driven to his offending by the “relentless” pursuit of him by Bendigo police after he was released from jail in May, and he adopted a “fugitive mentality”.
A police prosecutor vigorously denied the claim.
Burzacott’s offending started on May 18 when he stole a set of number plates from a car parked in the Kangaroo Flat railway station car park.
Over the following four months, he stole a Toyota Avalon from a Long Gully address, a Ford Falcon from Kangaroo Flat, a Mitsubishi Outlander from a Kangaroo Flat premises, a Hyundai i30 from Bendigo and a Mazda 3 from Kangaroo Flat.
The cars were used to commit petrol station drive-offs throughout Bendigo while Burzacott avoided police attention.
He committed six drive-offs at Apco Kangaroo Flat, two at Apco McIvor Road and others at petrol stations in Quarry Hill, Maryborough and Heathcote. He stole a total of $484.75 in petrol between May 23 and September 11.
Burzacott was detected driving while disqualified 10 times, and driving with false number plates seven times.
He was also involved in the smashing of multiple windows of a house in Kangaroo Flat, and the burglary of paramedic equipment from a house in Big Hill.
Burzacott denied carrying out the burglary, but was found in possession of the items in one of the stolen cars.
Burzacott was the subject of an extensive police search for several months and was eventually arrested in a Kangaroo Flat house on September 25, where he was found in possession of two counterfeit $50 notes and keys to one of the stolen cars.
Mr Timms told the court Burzacott had only been out of jail for a short time before he became the subject of a police “wanted” campaign.
“There were allegations that he had been involved in robberies, allegations that he possessed firearms – all of these were patently false,” he said.
“Houses were being constantly raided. One house in Bob Street, White Hills, was raided twice in one day. He picked up this fugitive mentality.”
But Magistrate Michael King said the consistent offending showed a disregard for the law.
He said Burzacott continued to steal cars and petrol, and showed no interest in handing himself in to police.
“The pattern and extent of your behaviour is just breathtaking,” Dr King said.
Burzacott was jailed for one year and two months, with an eight-month non-parole period and 34 days served. He was also fined a total of $7000.