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Long list of theft ends in jail

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By Jessica Howard

The Ballan man who was found with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen items has been jailed for nine months.

Shaun Taylor appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday (May 16), where he pleaded guilty to a string of offences including handling stolen goods, dealing with proceeds of crime and firearm possession.

The court heard police uncovered an $8,000 stolen record collection from Taylor’s property on July 25 last year, after his house was repossessed by the bank.

Two weeks later, police observed the father-of-three driving a stolen car, which, upon inspection, was found to have a number of illegal items inside including firearm ammunition, a stolen chainsaw and a double barrel shotgun with the serial number scratched off.

Taylor was arrested and subsequently granted bail, however on October 27, he was located at a campsite near Bungal with a stolen caravan, quad bike and more than $30,000 worth of items believed to have been stolen from a property in Elaine.

At the time of offending, Taylor was on a community corrections order for a string of driving offences. He was remanded in custody on March 10 this year.

The court heard Taylor requested a medical appointment at the Ballarat Base Hospital the following day due to alleged chest pain.

Upon leaving the hospital, Taylor attempted to flee police, however, after a short chase he fell over and was subsequently arrested.

Magistrate Ronald Saines said the offending was serious, persistent and premeditated.

“You were initially granted bail, however you used the opportunity to commit further serious offences,” he said.

“Regardless of whether it was you who stole the items, the offending is still most serious. Even if you didn’t [steal], you chose to handle the stolen goods, which is much more serious than the actual theft as it facilitates the industry that distributes stolen goods”.    

Taylor’s defence stated that the accused suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was not a risk to the community.

She said Taylor had been a single father since 2009, and had struggled financially after being forced to quit his job in order to look after his three sons.

“After losing his home in July he was homeless…. he made bad decisions for financial gain, however his time in custody has allowed him to think and understand the seriousness of the offending”.

Magistrate Saines said he believed Taylor was capable of living a life without crime.

“You are better than this and you should have the motivation to teach your kids to be better than this, too,” he said.  

Taylor was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, less 94 days’ pre-sentence detention, with an 18-month community corrections order to follow.

He was also fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Magistrate Saines said if not for his guilty plea, Taylor would have faced 12 months in jail.

In a separate matter, Taylor is alleged to have stolen a television and doona cover from a caravan park in early February. He will plead not guilty to theft on June 15.