TWO 17-year-old youths who terrorised the Portland region in an offending rampage have been sentenced to spend the next three months in youth detention.
The youths, one of which has a mild intellectual disability, pleaded guilty yesterday in a court and cannot be named because they are aged under 18 years. They pleaded guilty to armed robbery and a range of other offending including burglaries on commercial premises, thefts and a police pursuit through inner Melbourne.
They were both sentenced to serve five months in a youth justice sentence, but have already spent 64 days in custody and with good behaviour would be eligible for release in the next two months.
Both youths previously denied involvement in an armed robbery at Portland’s Edgar Street milk bar which involved a knife and it was expected that DNA tests would have to be done on balaclavas used in the hold-up which was expected to take about three months.
Police allege that at 5.05pm on March 23 this year three offenders wearing balaclavas held up the Edgar Street general store and stole cash and cigarettes valued at $1717. One offender was armed with a knife and a 17-year-old store attendant was left distraught.
Police alleged two of the offenders were identified because they were wearing the same hoodies as when they entered the store on the morning of the robbery, which was captured on security camera footage.
A search of a Portland address located balaclavas and other clothing believed to have been worn during the armed robbery.
Police allege the offenders went into a rear room and turned off a computer in an attempt to disable a security camera but the ploy didn’t work.
A youth had denied he was in Portland at the time but an eftpos transaction put him in the city.
Other offences involved stealing a Holden Commodore station wagon from a friend in Corio on March 23 this year, breaking into the Portland Chinese restaurant on March 31 which netted coins valued at $35, breaking into the Cape Bridgewater cafe on April 1 and stealing $1680 in coins and goods, returning to the cafe a couple of days later and stealing staff tips valued at hundreds of dollars and using a sledge hammer to break into the Caramut general store in early April.
Coins valued about $1200 were cashed in at the Portland branch of the Commonwealth Bank in a number of transactions by one offender.
He was also alleged to have hid in the Portland Mitre 10 store just before closing time one night. The store was locked and he then set off three motion sensor alarms.
The youth broke out of the store by throwing a gas cylinder through electric glass doors causing $15,000 damage.
In August last year one of the youths was one of four offenders who went to the home of a co-accused’s grandfather and stole three guns — a shotgun and two rifles.
The youths tried to sell the guns but the firearms were eventually all recovered by police.
In July last year a youth kicked his way into a Portland special school where he was previously a client and stole two mobile telephones, six stubbies of beer and a small amount of cash.
He made $287 in calls and made two $100 credits to other phone accounts.
Both youths have been in trouble before and both have spent the past 64 days in custody.
One of the boys also pleaded guilty to sparking a police chase on Melbourne’s Flinders Street which involved running red lights before dumping the car.
The magistrate said one of the youths had a few prior court appearances but he had graduated to the upper end of offending relatively quickly.
The other offender had already been on four probation orders and was on such an order during the crime spree.