By Danielle Kutchel
A 20-year-old repeat offender has had his bail application denied and been deemed an “unacceptable risk” to the community after allegedly committing more burglaries – while on bail for previous offences.
Dandenong North man Tommy Merrall had been bailed in April this year after being charged with a vehicle theft, subject to a curfew and a fixed address, Dandenong Magistrates’ Court heard on 27 August.
But police say that on August 17, CCTV identified Merrall as one of the offenders who broke into a home stealing jewellery, watches and alcohol.
The owners of the home were alerted via their home security system and returned in time to intercept the four thieves.
Merrall was among those who fled in a black 2018-model Audi, which had also been allegedly stolen during a residential aggravated burglary two days prior.
On Tuesday 27 August at 7.15am, police executed a search warrant at a Dandenong North address. They say that they found Merrall along with clothing identical to that captured on CCTV at the burglary, as well as keys to various vehicles, knuckledusters and a .22 calibre hunting rifle, identified as having been stolen during a burglary in Rosanna on August 3.
Other firearms were also stolen during that burglary but these are still outstanding, prosecutors told the court.
During his interview at Dandenong Police Station, Merrall denied committing any offences and said he was unaware of the vehicle keys in his house.
A rap sheet of previous offences dating back to 2014 was also tendered to court by the prosecution.
In 2017 he was a passenger in a car involved in a fatal collision with a motorcycle in Wantirna. He and a co-offender had fled on foot from the crash scene and stole another car in an aggravated burglary, the court heard.
Merrall, who represented himself in his bail application, told the court he had recently lost his job as a roof tiler with his brother, and hoped to get his job back if he was bailed.
He also said he hoped to see his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in five years and who allegedly has autism.
Merrall’s mother, who was also present in court, told Magistrate Pauline Spencer she would support her son if he was allowed to come home – but Ms Spencer disagreed.
“That hasn’t happened so far. I think you’ve done as much as you can to help, which is not great, frankly,” Ms Spencer said.
She refused Merrall bail, citing his prior offences which she said were “all a repeat of the same stuff”.
She said she considered him an unacceptable risk of reoffending and endangering the public, with his offending deemed all the more serious given the stolen firearms.
Merrall was remanded in custody and will reappear on September 25 via videolink.