A 20-year-old Denmark man burgled a home that was being used as emergency accommodation for locals forced to evacuate during this month’s Denmark bushfire.
Deakin Porter Dimer appeared in Albany Magistrates Court last Thursday via video link from Albany Regional Prison, pleading guilty to an aggravated home burglary and one count of stealing.
Dimer and another 20-year-old man were charged in relation to a burglary at a Hay property on February 7, when the community was still reeling from the blaze that destroyed four homes.
The bushfire started on February 4, doubled in size that night, and was still at a watch-and-act level on February 7.
A third suspect is being sought by police.
Police prosecutor Sgt Dave Loverock told the court the trio entered the vacant property through an unlocked door.
The court was told the property’s owners had opened up their house to other locals who had evacuated because of the bushfire.
Dimer was involved in ransacking the home, helping steal thousands of dollars worth of items, Sgt Loverock said.
About $16,000 worth of property was stolen, including electrical items, antiques, camping equipment and a wine collection comprising 66 bottles.
Police executed a search warrant at an address in Ocean Beach on February 11 and managed to recover all the stolen items, Sgt Loverock said.
Dimer spent three days in custody at Albany Regional Prison after his arrest.
Defence lawyer Kyah Langdon said the third suspect had been staying at the emergency accommodation when he travelled to see Dimer and his alleged accomplice.
The trio started drinking and Dimer passed out on the front lawn for two hours, Ms Langdon said.
She said Dimer was woken up and told to get in a car so they could burgle the Hay property and one of them could prove he wasn’t a “pussy”.
“He knew what he was doing was wrong and he’s not proud of it,” Ms Langdon said.
“The home was used for those who had lost their homes. Mr Dimer succumbed to peer pressure.
“It’s a serious matter but he hasn’t shied away from his offending.”
Sgt Loverock said Dimer played a role in stealing from good Samaritans who had opened their home out of kindness.
He said a term behind bars was appropriate.
Magistrate Dianne Scaddan accepted Dimer played the lesser role in the offending.
“You were intoxicated with lack of good thinking and under pressure to participate, but you are a young adult who should know right from wrong,” she said.
Ms Scaddan placed Dimer on a seven-month jail term, suspended for 12 months.