Alleged Ballarat burglar avoids immediate jail term

A YOUNG Ballarat man who burgled a home while the occupants were asleep, escaping with $50,000 in cash and four guns, has narrowly avoided an immediate jail term. 

Shane Evans, 19, of Skipton, appeared yesterday in Ballarat Magistrates Court, where he pleaded guilty to a string of charges, including aggravated burglary, burglary, dealing in property suspected of being the proceeds of crime and unlicensed driving. 

The court heard Evans and a co-accused broke into a Wendouree home about 7am on December 2, 2012, moving from room to room while the occupants were asleep. 

Detailing the offending to the court, police prosecutor Senior Constable Pepe Brown said the pair stole car keys and a magnum of champagne before breaking into a safe that contained the cash and guns. 

The court was told that two of the stolen guns are yet to be recovered. 

David Tamanika, for Evans, said his client had “started to drift off the path” during 2012 and 2013, couch-surfing with friends and using methamphetamine. 

“(He was) spending time with an unfavourable peer group and having substance issues,” Mr Tamanika said. 

Yet Mr Tamanika said Evans had recently showed signs of rehabilitation, with a permanent home at his father’s address and the prospect of work. 

Sentencing Evans to six months jail, suspended for 12 months, magistrate Kay Robertson said she hoped Evans would get his life on track.

“I hope you can go on with it,” Ms Robertson said. 

“You’re young enough to make a good go of it.”

Evans was fined $1000 and had his licence cancelled and disqualified for six months.