TWO teenagers allegedly stole three cars last Thursday night, two of which were driven at high speed during a brief police pursuit while one was crashed into a tree, a court has heard.
Both youths, aged 16, from Ballarat, appeared in the dock of a Children’s Court yesterday, while a third, 17, pleaded guilty to a string of theft and burglary charges related to the same night.
A police prosecutor claimed the two 16-year-olds had set out to steal cars on the night in question, finding an unlocked Holden Commodore in Ballarat with keys in the centre console.
The pair allegedly took off in the vehicle, driving around Sebastopol and Delacombe before it broke down. The car was abandoned.
Then, having teamed up with the third youth, the trio allegedly went to a Ballarat East property and broke into a shed where they found the keys to two Mercedes Benz cars.
Police suspect the teenagers also stole a chainsaw, torch and spotlight before driving away in the two cars.
The prosecutor told the court that police initiated a pursuit soon after but quickly called it off when the two Mercedes accelerated away.
She claimed the stolen cars reached speeds of up to 130km/h and were driven on the wrong side of a roundabout.
A short time later, police saw the cars driving up a bank on a Ballarat East street, where one crashed into a tree.
The prosecutor said that all three youths got out of the cars and attempted to flee on foot. Two were caught at the scene while the third was arrested at home.
Yesterday, the two 16-year-olds were remanded in custody without entering a plea. One is due to reappear in court this morning, and the other on June 4.
The third youth pleaded guilty to six charges yesterday, including four counts of theft and one of burglary.
A defence lawyer told the court her client didn’t want to commit the offences but was talked into it.
The magistrate replied: “Those kind of instructions are starting to wear thin before me because every young person says the same thing.
“I’m really concerned about this escalation in offending. This is clearly a huge escalation in offending.”
Sentencing was adjourned to July 9 to enable a pre-sentence report to be prepared. The youth was released on bail.
The two 16-year-olds face charges including reckless conduct endangering serious injury, burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.