Ballarat shop thief sentenced to 18-month court order

A 20-year-old man who went on a shop theft spree in Ballarat is now in “paradise” with a completely different lifestyle, a court has been told.

Ballarat Magistrates Court was on Thursday told Cameron de Wacht stole from four shops between February 12, 2016 and September 26, 2016.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Aimee Heal told the court de Wacht stole a cap from Skin Ski and Surf and two jackets from New Generation in the Bridge Mall.

She said on both occasions, de Wacht activated the security alarms as he left the stores.

Senior Constable Heal said on June 16, 2016 de Wacht took a chainsaw from the display shelf at E.E Day and Sons in Wendouree and left the store without paying, running to a waiting vehicle.

She said the store manager chased de Wacht and caught up to him when he threw a punch at the manager. He missed, but the manager fell onto the road.

In another incident on September 26, 2016, de Wacht and a co-accused took a gas torch worth $60 from Total Tools in Delacombe. De Wacht handed the torch back to the store manager when he approached them.

De Wacht’s lawyer Wendy Duncan said her client was caught in a cycle of petty thefts and did not receive much family help.

But de Wacht’s aunty and uncle had made contact with him which has dramatically changed him, Ms Duncan said. 

“He is in paradise in that he has a completely different lifestyle,” Ms Duncan said.

Magistrate Gregory Robinson sentenced de Wacht to an 18-month community corrections order with a condition he undergo drug abuse treatment.

De Wacht pleaded guilty to four counts of shop theft and one count of assault.