Jail time is a prospect for a man who admitted to breaking into a building while someone was sleeping inside.
North Bendigo resident Shane Ian Smith, 48, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court yesterday to aggravated burglary, burglary, two charges of theft, attempted burglary, failing to answer bail, and contravening bail conditions.
The court heard Smith and a co-offender broke into a Mundy Street massage business about 1am on February 6 last year. A person was asleep inside, upstairs.
The pair spent up to an hour inside and left with about $3000 cash.
When Smith was arrested later that month, he was wearing clothing matching that captured on CCTV. He told police he could not remember entering the building, and did not recognise the people in the stills of the CCTV footage.
Smith was bailed that day, but later left for Western Australia and failed to appear at court in April.
On August 15, Smith and his co-offender, Thomas Towle, entered the backyard of a Napier Street, Eaglehawk address through a gate onto Canterbury Park. The pair forced open a padlocked shed door and stole several power tools.
CCTV footage from the park appears to show Smith and Towle carrying items after the incident.
The following morning, a City of Greater Bendigo employee found tools in Canterbury Park and returned them to the owner. CCTV later captures Smith returning to the park for the tools.
On August 16, Smith and Towle attempted to jemmy open the doors of a Sailors Gully Road business.
Two days later, police searched Towle’s home and found Smith trying to hide under a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry. He was holding a tyre lever and jemmy bar.
Smith’s defence counsel Nicholas Rolfe told the court his client fell back into using the drug ice after returning to Bendigo from Western Australia in early August, but he had abstained since he was charged.
Mr Rolfe said Smith’s offending stemmed from his drug abuse, but he had disengaged from his peers involved in drugs.
Mr Rolfe asked for a non-custodial sentence, but magistrate Sarah Leighfield said she was concerned especially with the charge of aggravated burglary.
“It’s obviously a significant invasion of (the victim’s) space,” Ms Leighfield said.
Mr Rolfe said Smith was not aware someone was asleep in the premises, and did not go upstairs.
Prosecutor David Somerton asked for a term of imprisonment.
Ms Leighfield adjourned sentencing to next month and ordered Smith be assessed for a community corrections order, but said she had not decided whether Smith would also serve jail time.
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