Magistrate imposes strict conditions for Camperdown robbery accused

A CAMPERDOWN man allegedly involved in stealing an elderly man’s car at knifepoint was yesterday released on bail with strict conditions, including a $5000 surety and drug testing.

Damien Searle, 27, of Wright Street, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to apply for bail after he was arrested and charged last Thursday.

Mr Searle is charged with armed robbery, burglary, theft, criminal damage and three counts of stealing vehicles.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt granted bail until July 30, with conditions Mr Searle undertake drug screening tests on the first and third Monday of every month, he report to Camperdown police, provide a $5000 surety, abide by a 9pm to 6am curfew and not go within 20 kilometres of Lavers Hill or Chapple Vale.

Detective Senior Constable Wayne Ryan, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, said that police yesterday morning interviewed Mr Searle’s alleged co-accused.

That man, Jacob Evans, has been remanded in custody until July 30 charged with similar offences to Mr Searle.

Detective Senior Constable Ryan said Mr Searle had now made full confessions to his offending.

Mr Klestadt raised the subject of a surety and said Mr Searle would almost inevitably be sentenced to serve a significant term of imprisonment.

He said when Mr Searle got closer to a sentencing date he expected that the accused man would more strongly consider avoiding court.

Last week Detective Senior Constable Ryan said that on Saturday, May 18, Mr Searle and a co-accused went to Curdievale Road, Timboon, where they stole a Mitsubishi van.

He said they drove to Peterborough where they stole a flat-screen TV before driving to nearby Dawson’s Bush where they became bogged.

They also stole a quad motorbike from the Timboon district and put it in the van.

The quad bike was abandoned after being drained of fuel to put in the van, which was empty.

The offenders allegedly drove east until again running out of fuel near Lavers Hill on Saturday evening. Both the motorbike and van were yesterday described as insurance write-offs.

The duo then stole another quad bike and attempted to steal another vehicle at Chapple Vale, north-east of Apollo Bay.

About 10.30am on Sunday they allegedly waved down an elderly male driver in a Magna sedan and asked to be taken to Simpson. Shortly after a knife was produced and held to the throat of the driver.

When arrested last week Mr Searle took police to the Magna sedan, which was found at a disused Camperdown farmhouse hidden by trees.

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