A teenager who broke into a sandwich shop and stole cash and hand sanitiser amid a string of thefts at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has avoided full-time jail after taking himself to drug rehabilitation.
According to police, Jarrod Luke Murphy, 19, of Belfour Street, Oberon, formerly of Orange, and an unnamed co-accused gained entry to the Centrepoint Arcade on March 28, 2020, and forced open the roller door to the Green Apple sandwich bar.
While there they opened all doors and drawers, found a key to the safe and stole $180 in cash, plus coins from two tip jars, and a bottle of hand sanitiser that was tied to the bench with pink string. They were captured on CCTV in Post Office Lane when they left.
At 12.10am, police arrested Murphy after finding him hiding under a vehicle he and an unnamed co-accused had just broken into in National Avenue.
The co-accused ran off but Murphy was caught. He was in possession of the hand sanitiser, which still had pink string tied around it. However, police did not know about the sandwich shop break and enter until 5pm on March 29.
At the time of his arrest, Murphy was also found in possession of $34.20 in coins stolen from a Mazda CX-5 and a Holden Rodeo Ute in National Avenue as well as items used during the break and enters including a pair of gardening gloves, a head torch, half a pair of surgical scissors.
Police saw the two men moving around the Holden Rodeo at 12.08am and while one ran through a nearby backyard Murphy crawled under the vehicle.
A black, plastic, costume-style face mask worn by the accomplice was found in the cab of the ute. Murphy was granted bail and was re-arrested about 1pm on April 1, 2020.
Murphy was also convicted of buying $120.55 worth of food, dog food and cigarettes with a stolen debit card on March 17.
The owner of the bank card had lost it between noon and 2.30pm in the Orange CBD and discovered it missing when he went to pay for groceries.
By that time Murphy, who lived in Jindalee Avenue, Orange, at the time, got hold of it and spent $31.10 on cigarettes, $9.50 on a sausage roll and drink, $24.95 at Hungry Jacks and $55 on dog food.
Solicitor Andrew Rolfe said Murphy was still a young man but had been involved with illegal drug use throughout his teenage years.
"He started using cannabis about age 12 and he graduated to ice by the time he was 14 or 15," Mr Rolfe said.
He started using cannabis about age 12 and he graduated to ice by the time he was 14 or 15.Solicitor Andrew Rolfe
However, he said Murphy had success with rehabilitation and he attended a nine-month residential rehabilitation program.
Magistrate David Day ordered Murphy to pay $120.55 compensation to the card owner when he appeared in Orange Local Court for sentencing.
"He's crossed the custody threshold in my view," Mr Day said regarding the break and enters and using the card.
"The offender has a juvenile antecedence for dishonesty, property damage and some driving matters, unlicensed, never licensed."
Mr Day said he also previously received a suspended control order, which is suspended juvenile detention, for affray.
He said Murphy committed the debit card offences to get food because "any money he had was spent on drugs."
"The offending at Centrepoint Arcade was by far the most serious matter."
However, Mr Day said they were also his first adult matters, Murphy sought help for his drug problem and entered early guilty pleas.
Mr Day also gave him a two-year community-based custodial sentence for the thefts and using the card.
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