A Wandana Heights thief had a taste for Caramello Koalas. Picture: Supplied
A Wandana Heights thief had a taste for Caramello Koalas. Picture: Supplied

Jail for smash-and-grab sweet tooth

A WANDANA Heights thief with a penchant for Caramello Koalas was jailed for 18 months after admitting he burgled cars and spent up on the bank cards he found in the vehicles during an eight-week winter crime spree.

Max Corey had only been out of jail a few weeks when he committed the first of the crimes to which he pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday.

In total, he pleaded guilty to 57 charges, mostly counts for theft and deception committed in suburbs, including Highton, Belmont, Bannockburn and Waurn Ponds.

The court heard he broke into cars repeatedly between late-May and mid-July, often smashing windows to steal wallets, personal documents and other items of value, and then immediately spending up on the victims' bank cards.

While his spending amounted to thousands of dollars, the court heard many of the items he purchased on the stolen cards were small buys such as iced coffee, Caramello Koalas, bottles of Coke, McDonald's meals and petrol.

The total of the thefts and bank card rorting amounted to about $5000, with untold damage to the vehicles.

Although incriminating evidence - including some of the stolen identity documents - was found at Corey's home during a police raid on July 20, the man denied being responsible for the burglaries.

"He said he was given the cards and didn't know they were stolen," police prosecutor Senior Constable Scott Bell said.

But after being offered an 18-month jail term by magistrate Ann McGarvie on Tuesday, Corey, 24, admitted fault.

Ms McGarvie heard the man was on a community corrections order at the time, having been released from jail after serving a year-long stretch for his role in an arson at Bannockburn in 2017.

The defendant has already served 151 days of the 18-month sentence imposed on him yesterday.

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