ACT News


Alleged car and jewellery thief went on $20,000 spree days after prison release

A Canberra man allegedly stole a ute and $20,000 worth of goods, including passports and a wedding ring, six days after he was released from jail in November.

But the alleged theft from a Wanniassa home was not enough for Ricky Lee Sampson, 34, who was also charged on Saturday with driving a motor vehicle that he had brazenly taken this week.

The owner of the second ute spotted Mr Sampson in the vehicle on two separate days before he was arrested by police on Friday, court documents tended in the ACT Magistrates Court said.

Mr Sampson, from Wanniassa, allegedly took the black Holden Commodore from outside a Hume office about 1.30pm on Monday, with the owner watching out an office window.

The owner found the vehicle parked nearby soon after and said he saw a man later identified as the defendant in the driving seat, who immediately took off and sped out of sight, according to the court documents.

Two days later he again saw his ute, this time at a Jerrabomberra petrol station, and was able to take a photo of the station's closed circuit television footage of the driver.


The defendant was found at a room of the IBIS Hotel in Narrabundah and arrested just before 6.30am Friday, with the black ute found in the rear carpark and the keys in his pocket.

He faced six charges on Saturday.

Police allege the defendant broke into the Wanniassa home on November 26, six days after his release on parole, and took goods including three passports, a Toyota Landcruiser ute, several pieces of jewellery including a wedding ring as well as a laptop and $5000 in cash.

The total value of the items was about $19,869.

Prosecutor Diana Likeman opposed the self-represented defendant's application for bail, telling the court the defendant was likely to reoffend. Ms Likeman said there was a strong prosecution case, given DNA material matching the defendant found at the Wanniassa property where the alleged theft occurred and the sightings by the owner of the second ute.

She said the defendant had also breached his parole order by failing to reside as directed since Boxing Day.

An uncle of the defendant, acting as a friend of the court, said the defendant had been asking to go into rehabilitation before being released from Alexander Maconochie Centre, but there were no spaces available.

Magistrate Robert Cook​ refused bail, saying the defendant had an "incredibly extensive criminal history" and there was an "incredibly high risk" the defendant would reoffend.

"Even when you know someone has IDed you [regarding the black ute], you continued on with it," he said.

No pleas were entered.

The matter returns to court on January 22.