By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A serial burglar has pleaded guilty to raiding construction sites across the South East in a hire car, Dandenong Magistrates’ Court has heard.
Kevin Campbell, 34, and his accomplices hired a Toyota Camry that was monitored by a tracking device during the burglaries in late August 2021.
They stole two dishwashers, two ovens, a key safe, and about $5000 of tools and hardware during five break-ins in three days in Keysborough, Patterson Lakes and Seaford.
Campbell also pleaded guilty to evading and recklessly putting police in danger of serious injury after his hire car was pulled over by police at a “known address of criminal activity” in Carrum Downs early on 23 August.
He sped forward at the police car, forcing its driver to accelerate heavily and veer left to avoid a crash.
Campbell’s car fled at speeds of more than 100 km/h along Gamble Road.
He was disqualified from driving and on a community corrections order (CCO) at the time.
The next day, police arrested Campbell and his co-accused in his Doveton motel room.
Police seized the Camry hire car as well as hardware stolen from the Keysborough building site.
They included 36 boxes of door strikers, an emergency LED light, two boxes of sliding door lock parts, an LED work light, a wall light, a Lenovo tablet and other door hardware.
The Camry also contained a large amount of stolen tools.
Campbell also pled guilty to being caught driving six times despite being disqualified for 30 months at Frankston Magistrates’ Court in late 2020.
He was also charged with breaching an intervention order by following and flashing lights at a victim in her friend’s car.
At a 25 January hearing, defence lawyer Lauren Kelly submitted for a CCO on top of 154 days served in pre-sentence remand.
Campbell was in a better position to complete a CCO than in the past, Ms Kelly said.
He had the offer of a full-time job, and remained drug free while in custody.
“It’s the longest period for some time that he has been drug free,” Ms Kelly said.
Magistrate Greg Connellan responded: “I’m not as confident as you are.”
Mr Connellan noted Campbell’s underlying issues, including childhood trauma.
“At the moment his personal relationship breaks down he tends to tail spin back into offending behaviour and back into the criminal justice system and back into prison.
“I worry he might struggle to successfully engage with a community corrections order.”
A police prosecutor urged a lengthy jail term given Campbell’s “length and volume of offending” as well as priors.
Campbell told the court via a video link from Port Phillip Prison that his remand period had been his longest time in jail.
“It’s been tough. I’m done.”
Mr Connellan ordered an assessment for a CCO but “I won’t make any guarantees that it will be a (CCO) that commences after 154 days (served in jail)”.
Campbell was remanded for sentencing at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 7 February.