THREE men have been committed for trial after they allegedly stole firearms from properties around central Victoria.
Kevin Edward Grose, 27, Joshua Luke Gahan, 30, and Jackson Paul Hilson, 29, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for a committal hearing.
Magistrate Sharon McRae determined there was sufficient evidence for the three men to stand trial in the County Court.
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Charge sheets released to the Bendigo Advertiser alleged Mr Gahan stole four firearms and a Kawasaki dirt bike from a Strathdale address sometime between November 6 and November 7 last year.
Police also alleged that Mr Hilson and Mr Grose stole firearms, ammunition, a Nissan Navara Ute, a Ford Ranger ute, and tools valued at $10,000 from a Charlton property on November 18.
A third property in Wychitella, west of Charlton, was also burgled on November 29. Police alleged Mr Gahan and Mr Grose stole items including a solar panel, high lift jack accessories, and an aluminium portable ramp.
The court heard Mr Grose and Mr Gahan were arrested at a Kangaroo Flat property on December 4 last year.
Officers searched the Browning Street address and allegedly found some of the stolen firearms buried in the backyard.
Firearm-related items from the Wychitella property were also allegedly located during the search.
Police alleged the Ford ute stolen in Charlton was also found at the Browning Street address on December 4, while Mr Hilson was arrested in the second stolen ute on November 20.
The court heard police found videos on Mr Grose's phone of the alleged Charlton burglary.
There was also a cigarette butt with Mr Gahan's DNA allegedly found at the scene of the Strathdale burglary.
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Mr Gahan's lawyer Tas Antos said there was insufficient evidence to show his client stole firearms from the Strathdale property.
Mr Antos said the cigarette butt showed Mr Gahan was at the property but not that he was responsible for taking the firearms.
Mr Hilson's lawyer Carlin Grant also told the court that the prosecution's case was focused on inferences rather than sufficient evidence.
Mr Grant said the alleged videos of the Charlton burglary did not show Mr Hilson's face and there was no evidence that Mr Hilson entered the property where the firearms were stored.
But Magistrate Sharon McRae said there was sufficient evidence for a properly instructed jury to convict the three men of the offences.
Mr Gahan, Mr Grose, and Mr Hilson all formally entered pleas of not guilty and were remanded in custody.
They are due to appear in the County Court for a directions hearing in November.
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