A brass bandit has finally admitted stealing $3500 worth of the valuable metal from an Acton park under the cover of darkness, having previously spent many months protesting his innocence.
Jai Liam Glover, a 41-year-old metal worker from Kambah, appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for sentence on Thursday after pleading guilty to theft and three driving charges.
The court was told Glover had entered the theft plea in October on the second day of a hearing, during which he had earlier been attempting to defeat that charge.
This ended claims of innocence that stretched back to January 2021, when he mocked reporters covering his first appearance and insisted the man seen on CCTV removing valuable brass from benches in Henry Rolland Park "wasn't me".
Court documents, tendered following Glover's admission, show he entered the park about 8.50pm on September 26, 2020.
Security camera footage shows him sitting on each of the seats along the water's edge and seemingly removing anti-theft screws.
Glover can be seen leaving the park more than an hour after his arrival, but he was not gone for long.
Upon his return, the 41-year-old was captured by the park's CCTV cameras removing brass seat trims and fixtures from the benches.
He later transfers these to a nearby BMW, using a backpack to ferry some of the five pieces of metal to the car.
The entire episode lasts more than three hours, with the vehicle seen leaving the area at 12.02am on September 27, 2020.
ACT government maintenance workers subsequently discovered the theft and notified police, who traced the crime to Glover after identifying the BMW as belonging to the man's brother.
On Thursday afternoon, prosecutor Lauren Knobel told the court the theft appeared to be planned and premeditated..
She said Glover had likely needed to use a tool to remove the anti-theft screws from the brass he stole during an offence that had proven costly for the ACT government.
The court heard a search of Glover's home had failed to recover the stolen material.
Ms Knobel added that Glover had previously been given the benefit of intensive correction orders and other community-based sentences, which had not deterred him from further offending.
She said Glover had also served time behind bars in the past, and a further period of full-time imprisonment was appropriate.
Glover's Legal Aid lawyer, Benjamin Rutzou, acknowledged that his client's theft plea had been entered at a late stage in the case.
But he said it had prevented a situation where the matter may have had to be transferred to the ACT Supreme Court, meaning it had still proven highly beneficial to the community.
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Mr Rutzou also told the court Glover, a drug user and full-time carer for his "severely overweight" mother, had been deemed a medium to low risk of reoffending, which was an improvement on previous assessments of the same kind.
Magistrate James Stewart, who had been due to sentence Glover, ultimately found it inappropriate to finalise the case on Thursday.
He said the matter should be returned to magistrate James Lawton, who had presided over the theft hearing and ordered reports for reasons Mr Stewart did not understand.
Mr Stewart therefore adjourned the matter to go before his colleague on February 16.
Glover, who will remain on bail until then, was not impressed to find reporters outside court brandishing cameras as he left.
"Faggots," he said, scurrying away with a piece of paper over his face.
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