An 18-year-old who is alleged to have stolen a car and driven it at speeds of up to 140km/h around Ballarat on Thursday has been remanded in custody while the court awaits a justice assessment.
Cayleb Bromfield, 18, appeared at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court via video link on Friday as his lawyer made an application for him to be released on bail.
Bromfield and a co-accused, who cannot be named as he is under 18, have been charged with a series of offences committed in the Ballarat area this week.
First Constable Alexei Anikeev, from the Ballarat DRU, said it was alleged the pair stole a BMW x5 with the keys left in the ignition from a driveway in Wendouree about 4pm on October 6.
About 12.30pm on Thursday, a member of the public saw the stolen car in Sebastopol.
Police patrolling the area for the stolen car saw it driving east on Vale Street and identified the accused as the driver and the co-accused as the passenger.
He alleged the accused then accelerated away "at a fast rate of speed" and evaded police.
He added the speed and dangerous way the accused was driving meant the police could not keep up with them.
"The stolen vehicle was then sighted numerous times in the Sebastopol and Redan area driving at speed around roundabouts, driving on the wrong side of the road and forcing other vehicles to take evasive actions.
The stolen vehicle was then sighted numerous times in the Sebastopol and Redan area driving at speed around roundabouts, driving on the wrong side of the road and forcing other vehicles to take evasive actions.
"Police attempted to intercept the vehicle numerous times but the accused continued evading police at speed."
First Constable Anikeev said the car was observed driving at excessive speeds, often in excess of 100km/h in 60km/h zones.
Police tried to use stop sticks to intercept the car, but the accused was able to drive around them.
The police air wing was called in to assist and began tracking the car in Redan.
"The police air wing maintained observations as the vehicle sped north on Gillies Street South. It was driving over 100km/h on the wrong side of the road," he said, adding police were receiving consistent 000 calls about the dangerous driving.
"The police air wing tracked the speed of the vehicle at 140km/h from Gillies Street North - the main thoroughfare through the Wendouree area and is surrounded by schools, parks and shops."
First Constable Anikeev said there was heavy traffic in the area at the time of the offending.
It was alleged the accused drove on the wrong side of the road, through red lights and didn't stop at stop signs, which placed the community in significant danger, before pulling into the Stocklands Wendouree car park.
He told the court the accused and co-accused, aware they were being pursued, abandoned the car in the shopping centre car park.
"The vehicle continued driving unmanned in the car park and crashed into a civilian's vehicle as they were driving in the car park."
CCTV footage shows the accused and co-accused running from the car and through the shopping centre and into the adjoining retirement home, the court heard.
The pair were arrested in the grounds of the retirement home.
Police believe that it was through sheer luck and good fortune that the accused did not cause a serious collision that could have resulted in the death or serious injury of members of the public
First Constable Anikeev said a number of sets of car keys believed to belong to stolen cars were found on the accused, as well as a number of stolen watches and Apple Air Pods.
As a result of the offending, Bromfield was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, negligently dealing with proceeds of crime, dangerous driving whilst pursued by police, reckless conduct endangering life, reckless conduct endangering serious injury and unlicensed driving.
The court heard Bromfield had been released from prison on September 13, after serving seven months for offences including robbery, aggravated burglary and theft.
"The driving by the accused was incredibly dangerous with numerous near misses and incidents of driving at civilian vehicles on the wrong side of the road," he said.
"Police believe that it was through sheer luck and good fortune that the accused did not cause a serious collision that could have resulted in the death or serious injury of members of the public."
Police sought to remand the accused based on the unacceptable risk posed to the community and risk of committing further offences if granted bail.
The court was told Bromfield had an "extensive criminal history" with 150 charges including similar charges.
Police are following numerous avenues of inquiry, including obtaining more CCTV footage, while a forensic examination of the car uncovered stolen number plates and other stolen property.
Defence lawyer Sam Coleman applied for bail, listing concerns about Bromfield's age and the "massive amount of [his] childhood" already being spent in youth justice facilities.
He said workers had noted serious concerns about him becoming institutionalised given his level of comfort in youth remand and that it could be extended to adult custody.
Magistrate Tim Walsh remanded Bromfield until next week, by when a youth justice assessment should have been undertaken.
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