Man wanted for crimes across central Victoria hands himself in to police without realising it

AN Echuca man who allegedly committed a range of thefts and burglaries across central Victoria handed himself in to police without realising it on Friday.

Matthew Gruber, 41, appeared in custody in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Monday where his application for bail was refused.

Gruber was interviewed by Moorabbin Police on Thursday in relation to the theft of a Ford Territory, and was released on bail.

Moorabbin officers told Gruber that he needed to sign his bail in Echuca on Friday, so Gruber made the trip north. He was unaware of any other pending charges.

He was arrested when he arrived at Echuca Police Station, where he was charged in relation to burglaries, car thefts, thefts of number plates and a petrol station drive-off.

Gruber was in possession of keys to a Holden Commodore parked near the police station which had different front and rear number plates. The front one had allegedly been stolen.

He was wanted by Echuca police for allegedly committing a burglary on a house on Echuca-Mitiamo Road on October 17.

Police allege Gruber stole $2000 worth of jewellery and cash, before stealing a Holden Commodore parked at the address.

On October 19, Gruber allegedly stole power tools, jewellery, a computer and a camera from a Goornong property, valued at $7000.

He was also charged in relation to his alleged role in the burglary of a house on Kimbolton-Axedale Road, in which $2000 worth of property was stolen. The owner arrived home during the alleged burglary.

Gruber allegedly stole number plates from a car in Echuca on October 27. The next day, he allegedly stole plates from cars in Kyabram and at the Bendigo Tennis Centre on Nolan Street.

He then allegedly stole $130 in fuel from Caltex on High Street.

Gruber told the court that he was not a risk on bail because he had effectively handed himself in to police three days earlier.

“I’m not a risk,” he said.

“I showed cause by going into the police station to sign on, and speak to the officers there.”

Magistrate Bruce Cottrill said Gruber was looking at a “substantial term of imprisonment”.

Bail was refused, and Gruber will appear in the Echuca Magistrates’ Court on November 14.