12 October 2023

$2500 of golf clubs, $2000 bag and more: alleged burglar accused of three break-ins

| Albert McKnight
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Law Courts

James Thomas Hooper, 30, has been refused bail over a series of alleged burglaries. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man teared up and had to be walked out of a courtroom when his bail was refused over a series of alleged burglaries in which he is accused of stealing items, including $2500 worth of golf clubs and a $2000 Louis Vuitton bag.

James Thomas Hooper already faced charges of joint commission money laundering and participating in a criminal group before being handed three counts of burglary in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (11 October).

The 30-year-old from Googong, NSW, raised his hand and then asked to speak when he learned his bail application would be refused, saying he wanted to be released until the “16th” to get evidence against the allegations to bring to court.

“No one’s going to do that for me,” he said.

“Please, sir, just until the 16th so I can come up with evidence. What’s going to happen to my kids?”

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Court documents say a man’s car had been broken into in Kingston on 8 July 2023 and a number of his items were stolen, including his bank card. This card was then used to purchase over $2000 worth of items in Civic.

It is alleged Hooper was seen on closed-circuit television footage going into a Foot Locker store with two other people where they used the card multiple times.

CCTV also allegedly filmed Hooper and another man trying to force their way into a secure underground carpark in Barton at around 3 am on 21 September 2023.

He was then allegedly filmed entering the garage through a fire door while carrying a tyre iron and flashlight.

He and the other man allegedly spent two hours breaking into dozens of locked storage cages, where $2500 worth of golf clubs and a guitar were taken. He also reportedly broke into and stole a Volkswagen Golf.

The last alleged burglary was on 26 September 2023. CCTV allegedly filmed Hooper entering the basement of a hotel in Campbell around 11:30 pm, then smashing the window of a car and stealing a Louis Vuitton bag worth $2000.

Hooper was arrested on Tuesday (10 October). Due to his charges, he had to prove special or exceptional circumstances existed to favour bail for it to be granted.

His lawyer, Legal Aid’s Ketinia McGowan, told the court he had five children, including two with autism, while his mother was extremely unwell.

She also said he’d suffered a back injury at work a year ago, for which he was seeking damages and was receiving specialist care.

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Magistrate Ian Temby said Hooper had been charged with serious offences. He was satisfied Hooper could receive medical care while in custody and said the immediacy of his mother’s passing was unknown.

Also, he said having children was not a special or exceptional circumstance, particularly when their mother was in the community.

Bail was refused and the matter was adjourned until later in October. Hooper had to be walked out of the courtroom by guards. He did not enter pleas to his fresh charges.

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More Americanisms… “while carrying a tyre iron and flashlight”. In Australia it is a wheel brace and a torch.

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