A plumber is one of the first people to plead guilty to looting offences committed during Australia’s bushfire crisis.
Leon Elton, 38, pleaded guilty to a series of charges on Monday morning after he was accused of stealing from a burned out electrical store on the NSW south coast.
Police have alleged in court that Elton and his girlfriend, Kylie Pobjie, stole Apple TVs, two drones, hair clippers, laptops and other products worth up to $20,000 from Betta Electrical at bushfire-ravaged Batemans Bay on Wednesday.
Elton pleaded guilty to six charges including entering a building/land with intention to commit an indictable offence, larceny between $5,000 and $15,000, dispose property theft less than $5000, and possessing a prohibited drug.
He appeared at court by video link and was refused bail, a NSW Courts spokesman said.
Mother Kylie Pobjie (left), 31, and her boyfriend Leon Elton (right), 38, allegedly raided a shop burned out by bushfires and stole $20,000 in electrical items in Batemans Bay on Wednesday
The Betta Electrical Batemans Bay store is seen on fire on New Year’s Eve as devastating blazes consumed the holiday coast
Pobjie’s case remains ongoing and she is expected to face court on Monday. She did not enter a plea at a previous appearance at the weekend.
The Princes Highway electronics store was devastated by an inferno on New Year’s Eve – but enough stock remained in tact for the pair to allegedly ransack it, police claim.
Two days after the alleged offending, Elton was arrested at home in Tilba Tilba on Friday afternoon while Pobjie was detained in Narooma.
Pobjie was charged with two counts of enter/building land with intent to commit indictable offence, two counts of larceny and two counts of dispose property – theft.
An out-of-sessions bail hearing on Saturday was told the pair had prior criminal histories.
A registrar described Pobjie’s past track record as ‘very extensive’, claiming she had spent ‘several periods in custody’ for drug offences, ABC News reported.
Elton’s only prior criminal history was reportedly a dishonesty charge relating to using Monopoly money to pay for a drink at a bar.
The pair faced court on Saturday, with Pobjie apprehended in Narooma, where the pair allegedly drove from
Kylie Pobjie, 31 (pictured) and plumber Leon Elton, 39, were refused bail in court on Saturday, accused of stealing from the shop to pay for drugs
Police facts claimed the couple made a two-hour return trip from Narooma to Batemans Bay to ransack the store over a 24-hour period.
After parking across the road, police allege the two entered the fire damaged store in the town’s industrial area and fled with stolen goods.
Police allege the two then sold the electrical goods for drugs and as payment for using the car.
A third man, 26, was charged on Saturday with receive property theft after he was allegedly found with stolen mobile phones from the store in his car.
In a statement, shop owners Geoff Hatton and Dominic McClelland said the store was ‘heavily impacted’ by bushfires but that ‘buildings and businesses will be rebuilt.
‘We obviously will not be open for business for a period of time. Our plan is to reopen as soon as possible in a temporary centre.
‘Thank you to all the RFS and NSW firefighters that worked so hard to try and defend our centre, you guys and girls are the true heroes.’
Daily Mail Australia contacted the store for comment.