News

Pair facing 140 charges over alleged spree that netted $500,000 of jewellery

By Shepparton News

A man and woman reappeared before Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday facing a combined 140 charges including burglary, theft, trespass, possession of methamphetamine and receiving stolen goods.

Police allege their crimes were committed in Benalla, Shepparton, Heathcote Junction, Yarrawonga, Kialla, Baranduda, Wodonga, Mooroopna, Cobram, Nathalia, Eltham North, Kilmore East, Melbourne City, Euroa and Bundalong.

It was alleged Michael Roper, 29, and his partner Kylie Marie Sutton, 34, both of no fixed address, conducted a series of break-and-enters across north-eastern Victoria that netted them about $550000 worth of jewellery.

Police arrested the pair on November 3 last year in Mooroopna following a lengthy investigation, according to the prosecution.

Prosecutor Danielle Guesdon alleged police discovered caches of stolen jewellery secreted in cars and at two storage units, along with a small quantity of methamphetamine and three ecstasy tablets.

The prosecutor alleged Mr Roper and Ms Sutton had avoided police by changing the colour of cars used in the burglaries, painting them ‘‘various different colours’’.

‘‘And the number plates had been changed by hand writing to change the number,’’ Ms Guesdon said.

The pair is alleged to have been filmed several times on CCTV selling stolen jewellery to Gold Buyers in Melbourne, the court heard.

The total amount of cash obtained was $29420, according to police.

The prosecutor alleged that while Mr Roper committed the burglaries, Ms Sutton waited outside in a car, ‘‘playing games on her phone’’.

Adam Baker, acting for Mr Roper, did not apply for bail.

Phillip Bloemen, acting for Ms Sutton, applied for bail on behalf of his client, but the application was rejected by Magistrate Fran Medina.

Mr Bloemen argued before the court that Ms Sutton had been the victim of family violence and had already served 10 months in custody without a conviction.

Mr Roper had exerted an undue influence over Ms Sutton, according to Mr Bloemen.

The couple has two children, aged 5 and 8, who have been permanently placed in the care of Ms Sutton’s mother, the court heard.

The prosecution argued Ms Sutton posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending and should not be released prior to a further hearing in December.

Ms Sutton had previously committed offences while serving a community corrections order, the prosecution alleged.

Magistrate Medina weighed up the various arguments for and against releasing Ms Sutton on bail into the care of Odyssey House, citing newly enacted bail legislation and various legal precedents, but finally concluded the weight of argument fell against releasing Ms Sutton on bail.

‘‘In the circumstances I find the applicant has not shown exceptional circumstances,’’ she said.

The couple will return to court in December.