Meet the man who allegedly ripped off dozens of CQ businesses

8th August 2017 2:00 PM
UPDATED 4:30 PM
ACCUSED: Joel Michael Thomas Dewitte was denied bail in the Gladstone Magistrates Court after being charged with 33 break and enter offences he allegedly committed at multiple towns along the Queensland coast. ACCUSED: Joel Michael Thomas Dewitte was denied bail in the Gladstone Magistrates Court after being charged with 33 break and enter offences he allegedly committed at multiple towns along the Queensland coast. Joel Michael Thomas Dewitte / Fa

A ZILZIE man's alleged crime spree came to an abrupt end after he was arrested at a Gladstone service station on August 4.

However, police were led to believe that the man, Joel Michael Thomas Dewitte, was the main suspect wanted for 33 break and enter offences committed between Yeppoon and Cannonvale between July 2 - 26.

Upon his arrest, the 31-year-old was charged with twenty counts of break and enter premises and commit indictable offence, five counts of enter premises with intent to commit an indictable offence, five counts of attempt to enter premises with intent to commit an indictable offence and one count each of stealing, possession of tainted property and possession of suspected stolen property.

Police claim the man broke into a range of businesses including gyms, a golf club and mechanical workshops.

The offences were allegedly committed at Blackwater, Emerald, Yeppoon, Cannonvale and Zilzie where the man forced his way into the closed businesses and stole cash and items from the businesses, police claim.

Police will allege he was captured on CCTV for some of the offending.

Some of the items allegedly stolen include mobile phones and cameras.

In total, the man has been accused of stealing more than $12,000 worth of items and cash.

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He faced the Gladstone Magistrates Court from behind glass walls yesterday to apply for bail, represented by defence lawyer Jun Pepito.

Police prosecutor Gavin Reece told the court the accused participated in a recorded police interview, where he told officers he needed the money to fuel his meth addiction, which cost him about $1200 per week.

He told officers he had recently lost his job as a machine operator at the mines, and needed cash quickly.

The court was told the man preferred to target 24-hour gyms, industrial sites, sporting club or workshops, as there was less surveillance.

The man has a family of eight children at home in Zilzie, near Emu Park, where his partner also lives.

Mr Pepito said if his client was released on bail, he would reside and report every second day to police back in Zilzie, while on a strict curfew.

He said if the court ordered him to remain in custody until his next mention, it could hinder his client's drug rehabilitation.

Mr Pepito said if released, his client would attend regular drug counselling programs to try and get his habit under control.

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Gladstone Magistrate Melanie Ho said while there was minimal risk of the accused failing to appear before the court at his next mention, there was a "flight risk" given he knew he was facing jail-time.

"If he pleads guilty to these charges, a jail term of anywhere between two-three years could be imposed," she said.

"The other concern is that the offences he is accused of show he was transient as a result of his drug use.

"The concern is the risk of committing more offences if he is released on bail."

For these reasons, the magistrate refused the bail application and remanded the accused in custody.

He will appear in court again on September 4.