A Shepparton man who stole a gun, motorbike and heirloom jewellery from a Broadford home, was caught after he left DNA on two Zooper Dooper icy-pole packets he had eaten and left at the scene.
Tyson Ralph, 35, pleaded guilty in the County Court to two counts of burglary, theft of a vehicle, theft of a firearm, theft and handling stolen goods.
Prosecutor Honorah Edwards told the court Ralph broke into the house and stole a Winchester .22 calibre rifle after unlocking one lock on a gun safe with a key he found and then breaking the other lock.
He also took a Honda CRF70 motorbike from a garage, as well as stealing other items including jewellery, a handbag, .22 calibre cartridge ammunition, a jacket, camera, $300 cash, two sets of car keys and a packet of Zooper Doopers.
He then broke into a shed at Broadford Secondary College and used gym equipment to make a bed, before unsuccessfully trying to break into a staff room at the school.
Ms Edwards told the court that when police were called to the house, they found items from inside the house scattered everywhere, as well as two empty Zooper Dooper packets that contained Ralph’s DNA.
When police searched Ralph’s house they found power tools, a machete and some stolen number plates attached to a car.
The court heard Ralph told police he had bought a drill, tool case and wacker/vibration plate off someone he knew two or three days earlier for $450 and knew they had been stolen and he intended to sell them and make some money.
He also said he was given the registration plates on the car.
A victim impact statement read to the court by the owner of the house burglary told how he no longer felt safe in his own home and how he and his wife had not slept in the house for seven weeks afterwards.
He also spoke of the theft of a pocket-watch that had belonged to his great-great-grandmother that had been passed down through his family, saying a “part of his heart went” with the theft of it.
The man also told how he was not able to return to work due to anxiety and poor sleep and had retired because of it.
Ralph’s defence counsel Christopher Terry said his client was ‘under the grips of a significant methamphetamine addiction’ at the time and had started using drugs to ‘self-medicate’ because of a traumatic upbringing. He also told police his client had sold the motorbike and that he had ‘panicked’ and ‘disposed of the gun in a river’.
He did not know where the other items were, saying he last saw them in a room at his brother’s house where he was arrested. Mr Terry argued his client did not go to the house with the intention of stealing a gun, and had not known it was there until he found the gun safe in the house.
• On Friday, Ralph was sentenced to three years’ prison, with a non-parole period of 18 months, and 227 days already served.
Supplied by Shepparton News