Accused broke into 5 businesses

A CURRA man accused of breaking into five Gympie businesses during one night in March was a “one-man crime wave”, police say.

Christopher Robert Larpent pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday to 18 charges, which included seven break and entering, four wilful damage and seven stealing offences.

The court heard Larpent, 24, climbed six-foot fences to get into industrial yards and jimmied open windows, doors and a roof to get into buildings onsite.

Larpent began his March 28 crime spree on Buckley Drive, where he climbed the fence to Integra Concretes and forced open a shed window. Inside, he pried open a vending machine and took cans of soft drink and $20 in coins.

After scaling another six-foot fence to gain access to Buckley’s Haulage, Larpent climbed on to a demountable office building and prised up a sheet of roofing iron.

He found the keys to a nearby shipping container and from there he took $20 in coins, about $20 worth of chocolates, a laptop and bolt cutters. The amount of $2740 was sought to cover repairing the roof and stolen items.

The next premises he entered over the fence was a Gympie Regional Council work site at Glanmire. Larpent jemmied open the front door of a building and opened lockers, rummaged through the first aid kit and open lockers. He jemmied open the site office and stole a laptop and a digital camera.

On the same night, Larpent used an iron bar to break in to The Speed Shop on Gympie’s Southside.

He forced open a roller door and took cash kept in a petty cash tin and a money float.

The court learned Larpent used the stolen bolt cutters to get into the saleyard of Cooloola Cars and Marine on Pinewood Avenue and stole a generator from the back of a boat.

Defence lawyer Corey Jenkins said the offences happened in one night and were an act of desperation. “He was living in his car at the time and needed money for registration and food,” he said.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said the community would be expecting her to throw the book at Larpent

She placed him on probation for 12 months, sentenced him to two months’ jail suspended for 12 months and ordered all property to be returned to owners. Larpent, of Thomas Road, was given one year to pay a total restitution bill of $3040.

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