A South Australian man accused of breaking into a Ballarat East home on Monday morning and stealing a car could receive three months jail, a Magistrate says.
Adrian Tree, 26, appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Monday for a sentence indication, charged with aggravated burglary and theft of a car worth $3000.
Police allege that on April 15 at 1.15am, the accused man entered a Ballarat East through the unlocked laundry door, before finding a set of car keys to a Toyota Corolla.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Steve Kent said Tree also allegedly took a 750ml bottle of bourbon, a Samsung Galaxy 8 tablet, and a wallet with credits cards before leaving by the laundry door exit.
The victim heard noise in her home, but believed it was her daughter. Unable to sleep, five minutes later she woke up and realised keys and items had been taken. Her daughter said she heard their car being driven out of their driveway.
At 2.25am, Senior Constable Kent said friends of the victim confronted Tree in the Zagame's car park, recognising the car. He was filmed on a camera phone, before fleeing by foot along Elsworth Street. The court heard CCTV showed the accused parking and getting out of the stolen car at Zagame's.
Police were called to APCO service station on Main Road in relation to a suspicious person loitering, arresting Tree at 4.30am. In an interview with police, the man said he had been drinking Canadian Club and vodka, and denied stealing the car, saying he had borrowed the car from a friend in Mt Clear.
Tree's defence lawyer, David Tamanika, said the man should receive a "short, sharp term of imprisonment", because he lives interstate and a community corrections order may be difficult to organise.
Mr Tamanika said the accused man had dealt with the suicide of his brother in recent times, and had a manisfestation of depressive symptoms he "hasn't done too much" about.
Magistrate Barry Schultz said three months imprisonment was the "only sensible sentencing indication" he could give for the man, considering it was "serious offending".
"There's a sense of violation in entering a residential building, in darkness ... with a child and mother present," he said.
The case was adjourned to June 24.