Dumb 'n dumber in club robbery

TWO hopeless drug addicts who admitted to a series of break-ins and the farcical armed robbery of the Warrnambool Bowls Club were like something from the TV show World’s Dumbest Criminals, a court was told yesterday.

Brett Donald Roche, 24, of St Albans, and Rodney Leonard Norman Brown, 46, of Bateman Court, Warrnambool, appeared in the Warrnambool County Court where they pleaded guilty to numerous offences, including the bowls club robbery. They will be sentenced at a later date.

One witness, a 50-year-old Warrnambool woman, gave the court an account of the robbery at the club on Timor Street on the night of September 4 last year.

The botched raid was the culmination of a drug-fuelled burglary and theft spree in late July, August and early September last year by Brown and Roche.

Both men escaped from the club and went on the run, but Roche was later arrested in Hamilton in September and Brown in Warrnambool. 

Roche was also involved in an aggravated burglary at Warrnambool’s Kingston Close, where he awoke the occupants while stealing jewellery from their bedroom.

One of the victims woke up and saw Roche standing in a doorway. 

The victim screamed and Roche ran from the house. Police used DNA from a softdrink bottle to link him to the break-in. 

Roche and Brown were also involved in burglaries at Warrnambool’s Natrad, Dairy Drop, Battery World, Norton Ford, the Warrnambool City Council depot in Scott Street, and properties in Fitzroy Road, Eddington Street and Aitkins Road.

They stole cash, cheques and goods worth thousands of dollars, including a $16,000 ute, and caused substantial damage. 

Defence counsel Stephen Payne said Roche’s crime were unsophisticated and bordering on stupid.

He said that at the time Roche was in a situation of utter despair — homeless, no money, rampantly using ice and heroin, just out of prison, on parole and being leaned on by police to act as an informer , which resulted in him going on a “drug-fuelled bender”.

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