Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

A MAN with a weakness for Toyota Landcruisers will miss the birth of his child after he was jailed yesterday with the theft of one among his string of crimes.

Michael Thomas Kerr, 44, appeared in Wodonga Magistrates Court on 31 charges involving car theft and thefts from vehicles.

The court heard Kerr — who is expecting a baby with his girlfriend, 21, early next year — went on a crime spree this month, from July 8 to July 25.

He faced 23 counts of theft from vehicles, one of theft of a car with the rest involving burglary, trespassing, handling stolen goods and using false registration plates.

In the most brazen incident, Kerr travelled by train from Wodonga to a car dealership in Warragul, via Melbourne, on July 8.

There, he spoke to a dealer about a $40,000 Toyota Landcruiser he had already inspected a week earlier.

A co-accused distracted the dealer while Kerr stole a key. He returned that night and stole the 2004 model vehicle by driving it through a fence.

After stealing petrol at a service station, he drove the car to Wodonga and changed the licence plates.

The vehicle was left at the Birallee shopping centre to avoid suspicion, but when Kerr was arrested, he showed police where he had left it.

A week later, a partly dismantled Range Rover valued at $50,000, a Jayco caravan valued at $25,000 and a rebirthed $18,000 Holden Commodore sedan were found at two Wodonga homes.

Kerr was implicated in the theft of the vehicles in Sydney.

Another accused man told police Kerr had driven around Sydney “stealing whatever they could get their hands on”.

Kerr was also involved in car break-ins and thefts, predominantly Landcruisers, in Wodonga, Baranduda, Tallangatta and Tangambalanga. He was arrested at a Kergunyah caravan park last Friday.

The court heard Kerr had been a long-term user of marijuana and alcohol and had a significant criminal history.

His lawyer, Sally Wilson, said Kerr had been abstaining from crime before a workplace injury and surgery had forced him to use morphine for three months.

“Unfortunately, he became addicted to it — he’s fallen back into old ways,” she said.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge said Kerr’s activity had been “frenetic” and noted such crimes “cause a lot of damage and they are very distressful to people”.

She took into account Kerr’s guilty plea and sentenced him to two years jail with a non-parole period of 12 months.

He must also provide police with a DNA sample.