A CARAVAN park closed for renovations was still housing sleeping workers when robbers struck in the middle of the night, Bendigo Magistrates' Court has heard.
A man described waking at about 3.30am, upon hearing his colleague yelling that their shared work ute had been stolen on June 27 last year. The witness said he and his colleague both drove the vehicle and were given accommodation at an Eppalock caravan park as part of their salary packages.
The witness said he checked his CCTV recordings and saw footage of a man opening the front passenger side door of his personal car and rummaging around the vehicle. He was concerned his camera equipment, located on the floor behind the driver's seat, would have been taken, but it was untouched.
The court heard that some hours later, a white Toyota Camry drove up a 200 metre driveway of a property in Strathfieldsaye, and nearly became bogged in a newly sewn garden and lawn area.
The householders were not expecting visitors and began yelling at a man they saw exiting their backyard shed. The shed belonged to a semi-retired mechanic and was full of expensive tools. The pair yelled at the man to leave and called police. He got into the car and took off. The shed's owner reported that nothing had been taken, but discovered later that a chainsaw was missing.
A white Toyota Camry was later found dumped in California Gully. Upon inspection, it was discovered to be a red Toyota Camry stolen in NSW that had been hastily repainted white.
A 22-year-old man, Jordan Smith, was charged with burglary and theft in relation to the events and faced the Magistrates' Court via video link on Monday.
Mr Smith's legal representative Matt Murphy said the evidence linking his client to the crimes was "circumstantial". He said the only connection to Mr Smith were fingerprints at two locations and he had not been positively identified by CCTV or witnesses.
The court was told that all but three of the charges would be dismissed due to insufficient evidence and the case adjourned to Friday, December 3.
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