Belconnen woman faces court over stolen car petrol drive offs
Clare Colley, 1/6/16
A 19-year-old Belconnen woman, accused of using stolen cars in a string of petrol drive-offs in Canberra’s north, sent Facebook messages asking friends to teach her how to steal cars, a court has heard.
Police allege Chloe Maree Pearce used three different stolen cars to steal petrol from service stations in Hawker and Holt over several weeks in May.
Pearce faced court on Wednesday morning charged with 12 offences including driving a motor vehicle without consent, theft, unlawful possession of stolen property and obtaining property by deception.
She did not enter pleas.
Pearce’s defence lawyer asked for her to be released on bail to live with her grandparents in Young to “break away” from the people she was influenced by and address her use of the drug ice.
But Magistrate Beth Campbell refused saying Pearce had gone on with her ways, continuing to steal cars and petrol, even after she was put on notice by police.
“There’s a risk of your client falling back into her bad ways,” she said.
“Her grandparents aren’t here to say what they’re going to do to help her.”
Court documents allege Pearce drove off without paying for $61.43 worth of petrol from the Coles Express in Hawker on May 8 using a silver Holden Commodore that had been reported stolen two days earlier from the Ainslie Village car park.
Three days later, she allegedly used a white Toyota Celica that had been stolen from Macgregor when its keys were left in the ashtray, to steal $30.31 worth of petrol from the 7-Eleven station at Holt.
She was arrested by police on May 13 and summonsed to appear in court at a later date after a friend of the car’s owner received a tip-off of the car’s location from the Canberra Drivers’ Facebook page.
Pearce told police she had bought the car for $300 and was unaware it was stolen. She admitted to being the front seat passenger during the petrol drive-off but said she didn’t know the name of the other female passenger who had filled the car with fuel.
Police found text messages on Pearce’s phone indicating she was aware the car was stolen and private Facebook messages where Pearce had asked for help learning how to steal cars.
But less than a week later, on May 17, she allegedly stole $60.15 worth of petrol from a Holt 7-Eleven using a Mercedes that had been reported stolen a day earlier.
The car’s owner had been sleeping in his car near Lake Burley Griffin at Campbell when he was forced out by two men who drove away in the car.
Pearce was finally arrested on Tuesday after police received a call about a white Nissan Pulsar that had been stolen from Belconnen, with a bank card inside the car used in fraudulent transactions worth $55.98 and $29.99 at an IGA in Holt.
Police said they identified Pearce from CCTV footage at the IGA. She admitted to using the debit card to purchase items at the IGA.
The matters will return to court on June 22.