‘Out of control’ burglar gets stern warning

A MILDURA man was “out of control” on alcohol when he broke into two houses to steal tools, cigarettes and a slab of beer late last year, a court has been told.

Twenty-six-year-old Brian Degraff appeared in custody at the Mildura Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when he admitted the offending.

The court was told Degraff, orginally from Geelong, first attended a Thirteenth Street unit on November 30 when he stole two Makita cordless drills, three battery packs and a backpack.

A week later, the accused jumped a fence to enter the rear yard of an Argyle Street address and stole a slab of VB beer, a packet of cigarettes and some soft drink.

Early the next morning he again jumped a fence to gain access to the rear yard of an Eleventh Street address and opened a glass door while the occupants played a video game inside.

Degraff was seen by those present and he fled the scene, but witnesses were able to give police a description of the accused and the clothing he was wearing and he was subsequently arrested at his house.

Police located the tools in a wheelie bin at the property, the Makita battery packs and a Samsung mobile phone not in the name of the accused.

He initially denied the burglaries, telling police he found the tools in a bag on a school fence, but admitted he was heavily intoxicated at the time of the offending.

Defence counsel Hugh Middleton said his client’s drinking had become problematic and he had spent the past 29 days in custody.

Degraff told Magistrate Pauline Spencer he needed help with alcohol and he had “definitely” been out of control on the substance.

In sentencing him to time served and a 12-month Community Corrections Order, Ms Spencer warned him of the consequences of further offending.

“You know breaking into people’s houses is wrong,” she said.

“If you do that sort of thing you will be in jail.”

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