Bushfire looters to spend six months behind bars and ‘will feel community’s wrath’, magistrate says

03 February 2020

Published by https://www.abc.net.au

AUSTRALIA – A man and woman who stole from a bushfire-affected store to pay for drugs have been sentenced to at least six months behind bars.

Plumber Leon Elton, 38, and part-time cleaner Kylie Pobjie, 31, were today convicted of looting following devastating bushfires on New Year’s Eve.

The pair were sentenced to 18 months in jail with a non-parole period of six months.

The court heard the pair travelled from Narooma to Batemans Bay on January 8 to buy drugs, but instead broke into the Betta Electrical store twice and stole thousands of dollars’ worth of electrical goods.

Both confessed their crimes to police within 24 hours of the offences occurring.

The court heard the pair both had long histories of drug abuse and mental health issues.

During sentencing, Magistrate Doug Dick said that emotions were running very high in the community because of the bushfires and people expected the court to respond accordingly.

“You’re going to feel the wrath from the community,” Magistrate Dick told Elton.

“As the bushfires go on, so does the reminder of your despicable acts.”

He stressed that the business was particularly vulnerable at that time due to the impact of the bushfires.

“I have to be careful not to sentence you on emotion,” he told Elton.

At the time of their arrest, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller lashed out at people taking advantage of homes and businesses damaged in the bushfires, saying “these looters are absolute grubs”.

A third person arrested in relation to the matter, 26-year-old Jeremy Holman, has pleaded not guilty and remains remanded in custody.

He is due back in court on February 10.

Topics: crime, police, courts-and-trials, bushfire, batemans-bay-2536, tilba-tilba-2546, wollongong-2500, narooma-2546

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