THE head of the T-shirt gang has pleaded guilty to watered down charges following a string of burglaries, thefts and weapons offences in the North East.
Jack McLean, 24, cried when he was arrested, cried in police holding cells and came close to tears during previous court hearings, but was composed when entering pleas to 17 charges in the Wodonga County Court on Wednesday.
His father Wayne was less composed outside the court, threatening to bite a television cameraman’s nose off for filming him.
Jack admitted handling stolen firearms, burglary, theft, car theft, arson, resisting a police officer, marijuana possession, driving offences, weapons offences and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The charges related to crimes in Wodonga, Tallangatta, Rutherglen, Bundalong, Kookaburra Point and Barnawartha last year.
He had been charged with 87 offences but struck a deal with the Office of Public Prosecutions to avoid the matter going to trial.
McLean told family members in the courtroom he was glad most of the charges would not proceed.
“I’m so happy all the charges were dropped,” he said before the proceedings.
Wodonga woman Liz, who had her house broken into during the crime spree by members of the gang and firearms stolen from inside, said she felt violated by her ordeal.
McLean did not face break-in charges over the incident but pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods taken from the home.
“It’s just the violation,” she said.
“Some things can never be replaced.
“We’re trying to get on with life, but every time you hear a noise or a bang, your nerves are on edge.
“Once it’s happened, you wonder if it’s going to happen again.”
Liz, who asked for last name not to be published, said she had been heading to Queensland with her husband Jeff when they learnt of the break-in.
They had to cancel their holiday and came home to a scene of destruction.
A car stolen from the home was torched a few weeks after being taken.
Liz still fears she will be targeted again.
McLean’s brother Tom had earlier pleaded guilty to car theft and burglary over the incident.
He also admitted involvement in a burglary at a Rutherglen newsagency, burglary and theft at the Bundalong Cafe, Chiltern Hotel, Victoria Hotel at Rutherglen, a Shell service station, drug possession and driving offences.
Jack will return to court on Thursday.