Melbourne man finally caught in Ballarat after two-year evasion

A MELBOURNE man who was on the run for two years over a string of burglaries throughout the state was arrested in Ballarat recently, a court heard yesterday. 

Benjamin Cooper, 34, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court where he was refused bail in relation to a string of theft, burglary and deception offences. 

Arrested on November 29 at Reid’s Guest House in Lydiard Street, the court heard Cooper had been trying to evade police arrest since 

December 7, 2011, when he failed to answer bail in Frankston over alleged burglaries. 

Cooper is charged with a raft of offences, including aggravated burglary, burglary, theft, theft of a motor car, going equipped to steal, possessing methamphetamine, using methamphetamine and dealing in property suspected of being the proceeds of crime. 

Opposing Cooper’s bail application, Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Alanna McDonald told the court Cooper’s alleged offending had taken place around Melbourne and, more recently, in Gordon. 

The court heard Cooper was arrested on January 25 last year after allegedly burgling a Parkdale property while a man was home. 

Detective Senior Constable McDonald said Cooper ran from the property and allegedly pulled a screwdriver on two men who tried to stop him. 

The court heard that on March 28 last year Cooper allegedly stole a broken down car, which had been left on the side of the freeway near Gordon. 

Detective Senior Constable McDonald said that when interviewed by police on each occasion, Cooper made no admissions and claimed he couldn’t remember his offending.

Cooper’s legal counsel said Cooper had had the chance to “dry out” from his drug use since being in custody and that an associate had agreed to let him live with her. 

However, magistrate Catherine Lamble refused his application saying she did not agree that Cooper had shown cause as to why he should be bailed.

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