A Haddon man who is alleged to have been involved in attempted thefts and ATM robberies totaling $285,000 has been committed to stand trial.
Robert Stanley Fitzpatrick, 38, appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to 30 charges including theft of cash and vehicles, trespassing and arson.
Charge sheets obtained by The Courier show the alleged offending occurred at Clunes, Lake Bolac, Beaufort, Creswick, Skipton, Dunkeld, Ballan and Queenscliff from November to March.
Police allege that Fitzpatrick stole $198,000 from a Beaufort Bendigo Bank ATM on November 29, and caused damage to the machine of $17,000. One month later, on December 29, Fitzpatrick allegedly stole $96,000 from another Bendigo Bank ATM at Lake Bolac.
In relation to allegations of an attempted ATM theft at Fraser Street in Clunes on March 3, the man is also charged with stealing a $100,000 front end loader from Creswick Quartz.
Grant James Nalder, 34 from Wendouree, and Black Hill man Martin Locandro, 41, have also been charged over the alleged offences.
Police informant Detective Senior Constable Andrew Pybus told the court during the contested committal hearing that additional charges had been laid against Fitzpatrick following the discovery of more CCTV footage from an alleged Maldon incident.
The informant told the court that a text message from a co-accused to Fitzpatrick stated "I'm heading your way, want me to check on Effie?" Police believe 'Effie' relates to a 2004 white Ford F350 utility, which Fitzpatrick is charged with stealing on March 3 from Delacombe, valued at $35,300.
The apparent response by Fitzpatrick to the text message was "yeah, that's a good idea".
Senior Constable Andrew Pybus said that one of the two assailants filmed on CCTV at Maldon on December 16 - where a grinder was used on the wall of a Bendigo Bank branch at 4am - was wearing a black hooded jumper with the word 'Brooklyn' and the number '86' on it in white writing.
Police allege CCTV footage exists of Fitzpatrick attending the Corrections Victoria office in Ballarat on January 8 this year, where he is seen wearing the same black hooded jumper.
But in cross examination, defence lawyer Jacob Kantor noted that when a recent search warrant on Fitzpatrick's property was executed, no such jumper was found.
Senior Constable Pybus told the court that a police member states he saw the accused man riding a bicycle at Barham in NSW hours before he was said to have been involved in an alleged theft at Maldon, and cell phone tower records had not yet been sought for Fitzpatrick's phone on the evening.
He also said that a spreader alleged to have been used in the crimes was found on Fitzpatrick's property, but when DNA-tested, Fitzpatrick's DNA was not found on the item. A number of grinders were seized by police in a toolbox on the back of a ute at the property.
"There's never been DNA or fingerprints of Mr Fitzpatrick's located at any of the alleged scenes," Mr Kantor said during his cross examination.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Sam Young previously told the court the total alleged to have been stolen from ATMs by the accused trio is around $285,000.
Fitzpatrick will appear in the County Court in September.
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