Alleged fuel thief admits to Wangaratta court he ‘stuffed up hard’

Numerous arrests for stealing cars, number plates and petrol did not stop an alleged thief continuing his crimes, so a magistrate has now refused to release him from custody.

Luke Pereira had already been charged and released on bail twice in August and September for charges including theft of a motor vehicle, theft of petrol and handling stolen goods in the Benalla area.

He was allegedly captured on CCTV on Thursday filling a car with $44 worth of petrol from the BP service station at Glenrowan, then driving off without paying.

Two days later, on Saturday, Pereira was at it again – allegedly stealing number plates from a car in Wangaratta and driving to the Coles Express service station in Euroa where he again drove away without paying for $59.98 worth of petrol.

Police allegedly found him later that day on the Benalla-Whitfield Road at Greta in what they believed was a stolen car, allegedly with stolen number plates under the seat and a small amount of the drug ice in his pocket.

He has allegedly never held a Victorian driver’s licence.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Penny Lawler told Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court on Monday that Pereira was too substance-affected for police to interview him.

He pleaded to magistrate John Murphy to release him on bail again until his next court appearance on December 15, so he could explain his situation to his son and family before possibly serving a jail sentence over Christmas.

“I know I’ve got a lot of priors (for criminal offences) and there's a lot of reasons you shouldn’t give me bail,” Pereira said.

“I’ve stuffed up hard … whatever comes at me, I’ll take it.”

He admitted methamphetamine use was an issue and he wanted to go into rehabilitation, promising to do the right thing.

Mr Murphy refused to grant bail, saying Pereira was clearly a risk of reoffending.

“No doubt if he’s released on bail today, there will be someone else’s driveway empty,” he said.

The case was adjourned.