Young burglar stole firearms

A FORMER Warwick man who launched his criminal history at just 16 years old by burglarising a local residence was yesterday sentenced for his involvement in the crime.

Keith Jeffrey Lingwoodock – who is now aged 18 and was sentenced as an adult – appeared in Warwick District Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and stealing a range of items including guns and ammunition.

Now residing in Dalby, the court heard Lingwoodock spent much of his childhood in Warwick.

The court heard on November 17, 2009, the burglary victim unlocked his gun safe on the night before the offences occurred, to retrieve cuff links to complete his outfit before a night out with his wife.

At around 2.30am the next morning, the victim was awoken from his sleep by footsteps inside his home and on entering his office the man noticed six firearms had been stolen from the safe.

The man called police and later discovered further missing items, including a Nikon camera, ammunition, a mobile phone and memory card.

Police received information indicating Lingwoodock was involved in the burglary and during interviews with police on August 7, 2010, Lingwoodock made a full confession on his involvement.

Lingwoodock refused to nominate any other people involved in the crime, however a juvenile co-offender was also charged and appeared in Warwick Magistrates Court regarding the incident.

Upon being interviewed by police, Lingwoodock told police he threw the guns in the creek after the burglary because he was nervous about possessing them and admitted to selling the camera.

Although the guns were never recovered, some ammunition was found but the victim was unable to identify it as being his property.

The police prosecutor told the court Lingwoodock had no criminal history at the time of the offence, but has since acquired a wilful damage conviction as an adult after smashing a window at a Warwick takeaway restaurant.

In sentencing Judge Marshall Irwin said he wanted to send a message to the community that this kind of offending is not acceptable and can make people more fearful in their own homes.

He said burglaries are an “interference on the sanctity of the home” and can escalate into highly dangerous situations if the owner seeks to prevent the loss of their property.

Lingwoodock now lives in Gatton and the court heard he has previously worked at Hungry Jack’s and as a labourer.

The fact that Lingwoodock was intoxicated was highlighted by Judge Irwin as a source of insight into the circumstances and he took into account Lingwoodock’s early guilty plea and his willingness to work.

“I don’t regard the fact you were drinking as something that mitigates what you did and it certainly doesn’t excuse it, but it does explain it,” Judge Irwin said.

Lingwoodock was sentenced to 12 months probation and no conviction was recorded against him.

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