Mary Valley man accused of school crime spree denied bail
A MAN who allegedly stung a number of schools on a wide spread stealing spree across Gympie and the Sunshine Coast will remain behind bars after being refused bail in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday.
Stephen Anthony Hemmings, 31, of Carters Ridge faced 25 charges made up of recent break and enter offences, stealing and minor drug charges.
An extensive list was read before the court with schools and clubs making up the main target.
At least 12 schools in the Gympie and Sunshine Coast region were broken into in a one month period.
The first was Cooran State School, broken into between April 22 and 25 and the last known break and enter was at Monkland State Preschool on 31 May.
Tools, fuel containers and sporting equipment made up some of the stolen property.
Hemmings' lawyer Chris Anderson said the problem stemmed from the man's ice addiction.
HE said after trying ice for the first time a few months ago, he was addicted after just a few days.
In his application for bail, Mr Anderson said the defendant aimed to give up his ice addiction.
"He knows it won't be easy, that it will be very testing and that he needs the support of his family to get through it," Mr Anderson said.
Magistrate M. Baldwin said the community needed to be protected from further offences.
"There is no doubt he has engaged in a wide crime spree.
"I'm not satisfied he can overcome his ice addiction in two days in the watch house.
"He is at real risk of committing further offences."
Mrs Baldwin noted Hemmings' long history of stealing, saying his past crimes were committed with no suggestion of a drug problem.
"So it is a bit trite to suggest that the drug was the driving fact when he has a long history of 14 years littered with stealing offences."
The father of two broke down when his bail was refused.
Hemmings will be remanded in custody to June 15 for mention in Gympie Magistrates Court.
Schools hit between April 22 and May 31
Cooran State School
Cooroy State School
Imbil State School
North Arm State
Coolum State School
Yandina State School
Mapleton State School
One Mile State School
Central State School