'Hopeless crook' who stole church cash jailed

A THIEF who stole a bag containing $450 of church money at the Wodonga post office was labelled a “hopeless” crook yesterday.

Wodonga magistrate John O’Callaghan was sentencing Dylan Crichton, 23, to 12 months’ jail, with a minimum non-parole period of six months.

“You’re not very good at it and you’re just going to get picked up,” Mr O’Callaghan told him.

Crichton went on a one-man crime spree in Wodonga from late November until early February.

He pleaded guilty yesterday to several charges including theft and evading police officers.

Mr O’Callaghan was told that the incidents began with Crichton’s attempt to flee police on November 22 by speeding away in his car to a London Road house, going inside and refusing to answer the door.

Police later recovered stolen property from the car boot valued at $760.

Prosecutor Sen-Constable Wayne Taylor listed several other crimes.

They included opportune theft on February 4 when a member of the Yackandandah Anglican Church left a bank bag containing $450 in cash and a pay-in book on a post office counter as he went to address and post a parcel.

Crichton took the bag — though did not know there was cash inside — and quickly left.

Police were able to identify him after viewing security footage.

Two days later he stole a quilt and other bedding valued at $190 from the Target store in Wodonga.

He also tried, without success, to force open a cash register.

On February 9, the unlicensed Crichton was seen driving an unregistered car in Lawrence Street.

At one point police detected him driving at up to 90km/h in a 50km/h zone in Brockley Street, where he arrested.

Mr O’Callaghan told Crichton that his criminal history was appalling.

Barrister Sally Wilson, for Crichton, agreed, but she pointed out that her client had never really been given sentences that allowed him a chance for rehabilitation.

“He’s only 23, he’s still a young man,” Ms Wilson said.

Ms Wilson said Crichton was addicted to methamphetamine.

He had made a genuine attempt to keep off the drug during 2012-13.

Mr O’Callaghan said he had set a six-month minimum non-parole period in recognition of the need for Crichton’s rehabilitation.

Crichton was disqualified from obtaining a driver’s licence for six months.