HO HO LOW: Magistrate delivers serve to Wodonga Christmas 'Grinch'

A MAGISTRATE yesterday described the Wodonga Christmas burglaries as a low, miserable act, before asking an accused teenager whether he felt any remorse.

James Lawrence Strauss, 18, of Springdale Heights, is also charged with stealing sex toys from a Wodonga shop just days before police allege he broke into two homes and stole presents from under the residents’ Christmas trees on Christmas morning.

Strauss appeared in the Wodonga Magistrates Court yesterday after he was arrested at his Springdale Heights home on Tuesday.

Magistrate John Murphy said the Christmas burglaries were a “low, miserable act”.

“Did you feel any remorse for these little kids waking up on Christmas?” Mr Murphy asked.

Strauss’ solicitor Greg Duncan said his client would plead guilty to breaking into a Wilca Way home early on Christmas morning.

Police prosecutor Sen-Constable Wayne Taylor said Strauss had broken into the home while a man, his wife and their children, aged 10 and 12, were asleep.

“The accused went to the Christmas tree in the lounge room and stole all the presents from under the tree,” Sen-Constable Taylor said.

“About 6am, the children got up and noticed there were no presents under the tree.”

Sen-Constable Taylor said Strauss, who stole presents valued at $8300, had made several trips to a car.

Mr Duncan said his client had low self-esteem as a result of school bullying and feeling he was “second best” to a younger sister.

He had stolen the presents to fuel his ice and cannabis habit.

Mr Murphy told Strauss ice would destroy his life and said the drug was rife in towns across the state.

“Unless something is done as a society with the drug, God knows where we’ll be in 10 years’ time,” he said.

Mr Duncan indicated Strauss would also plead guilty to stealing a car from Elgas in Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga on Monday night.

Police found the Hyundai Excel parked in the street next to Strauss’ Springdale Heights home when they arrested him on Tuesday.

Mr Duncan said his client would contest the charges relating to stealing presents from a Hartwig Road home and breaking into Erotic Nights in High Street, Wodonga, on December 21.

The case was adjourned to the Wodonga Magistrates Court on January 21 while a pre-sentence report was completed to assess Strauss’ suitability to be held in a youth justice centre.

Strauss did not apply for bail.