Servo thief accused of new thefts

A FATHER who robbed a Wodonga service station when armed with a screwdriver in 2011 has been released on bail for theft offences committed in Albury recently.

The latest theft by Justin Anthony Locke was at the IGA supermarket at Springdale Heights on Wednesday.

The North Albury man is said to have admitted to police he had stolen items worth $166.29.

Locke, 28, was convicted on June 10 of two other theft matters when he failed to appear at Albury Local Court and warrants were issued.

They were the theft of a $100 bottle of Jim Beam on March 22 at Lavington and a Sony Walkman from Officeworks on March 29.

He appeared in custody yesterday seeking bail, but police prosecutor Sgt Perry Borg opposed it.

Sgt Borg said the latest theft was the third time Locke has been caught in recent months.

Solicitor Dione Garwell said Locke is the primary carer for two young children after separating earlier this month from his partner, who has drug issues.

Court registrar Jim Bretag said the totality of Locke’s criminal behaviour is a worry.

“There is a pattern of offending that the court finds disturbing,” he said.

Locke was freed on $1000 bail to appear in court next Tuesday but must report to police three times a week.

Mr Bretag made reference to Locke’s convictions in Victoria before allowing his release.

Locke received a two-year suspended jail sentence in March 2011 in the County Court at Wodonga over a robbery committed while on a prescription drug binge.

Judge Fran Hogan said Locke was in a “shocking state of mind” when he confronted an attendant at the United service station in Melrose Drive about 4.15am on June 23, 2010.

Locke had been “doctor shopping” for medication including diazepamin the days before the robbery as he struggled to deal with the first anniversary of his father’s death.

Locke demanded $600 cash and two packets of cigarettes from service station attendant Kareem Hyder, making threats to “bash him, stab him and destroy everything”.

Mr Hyder activated a security alarm before Locke reached over and grabbed $400 in notes from the cash register.

Locke had no memory of the Wodonga offence until his partner saw a report and photograph in The Border Mail on July 1 and questioned him.

He handed himself in to police the following day.