Craig Roberts jailed for 'prowling' around car park, thieving

CONDEMNING CCTV footage has sent an Orange man to jail until at least April 2020 after stealing items ranging from $14 to $158,000.

Craig Roberts, 31, of Leura Road, faced Orange Local Court via video link on Monday, charged with shoplifting and larceny.

According to police, Roberts visited the Summer Centre IGA on June 18 to buy some drinks, but CCTV footage showed him stuffing chicken schnitzels down his pants. 

But a more serious offence came three days later when a victim parked his Toyota Landcruiser in the car park behind the Hotel Canobolas. 

At 10pm that night, CCTV footage showed Roberts riding a mountain bike around the car park, using a torch to look in vehicles. 

After discovering the Landcruiser unlocked, he and a second person removed several items between 10.50pm and 5.30am.

At about 8.30am on June 22, the victim discovered his car had been broken into and reported a north-seeking gyroscope measuring tool, its case and four computers missing, worth $158,000.

Police visited a Torpy Street property on June 25 and Roberts admitted to taking what he called “the detonator thing”, sending police to a dumpster behind a Byng Street business where the items were recovered. 

He was actually quite hungry.

Gerry Stapleton

In court, solicitor Gerry Stapleton said his client was homeless at the time and only had money to pay for the soft drinks at the IGA.

“He was actually quite hungry,” he told the court.

Mr Stapleton said Roberts had progressed well under corrective services supervision and had been candid and co-operative with police after the car park offence, with the items returned. 

Magistrate David Day noted he had been serving a suspended sentence at the time of the offences, deciding to send him to jail for nine months for the schnitzel offence and a further 18 months’ jail with a non-parole period of 12 months for the car theft. 

“The stealing from the motor vehicle is much more serious, not just the value of the goods, but prowling around the car park and finding something in the back of the vehicle that took his eye,” he said.

Roberts will be eligible for release in April, 2020. 

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