12 July 2023

iPhones, Air Pods stolen in $60,000 Canberra Centre Apple store burglary

| Albert McKnight
Man leaving court

Harrison Frank Clissold, 19, will return to court to be sentenced at a future date. Photo: Supplied.

A pair of teenagers might have been thinking they wanted to “make a quick buck” when they broke into an Apple store in central Canberra and stole over $60,000 worth of items, a court heard.

Harrison Frank Clissold pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated burglary and theft over his role in the crimes, while his co-offender, who was under 18 at the time so is unable to be named, has already been handed a jail sentence.

Around 3:30 am on 19 January 2022, the co-offender used a claw hammer to help break into the Canberra Centre and then into the Apple store, but fled when he triggered an alarm, court documents say.

He returned to the store with Clissold, who was dressed all in black and had his faced covered, at about 4:30 am and broke into the back storeroom.

Inside, the pair filled bags with 29 iPhones, nine AirPods and 10 Beats headphones, which had a total value of $60,791.

They were confronted by a security guard when leaving and fled, dropping one of their bags as they did so, managing to escape.

The co-offender was arrested later that day and months later was recorded from custody speaking over the phone with Clissold, using Pig Latin as a code.

For instance, at one stage the co-offender asked, “Yeah, so what’s happening with the ial-ay tr-ay [trial]?”

“They say there’s DNA and like fingerprints and all that on like some of the handles in the Apple store and s-t,” Clissold said during the conversation.

READ ALSO Civil action launched after 95-year-old Clare Nowland’s alleged tasering

He was later arrested over the incident and appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday (11 July).

“These sorts of offences, the prevalence of them in the community, create an enormous burden,” prosecutor Chamil Wanigaratne said.

He said it seems those who commit these types of crimes “think they can make a quick buck, as it were, by stealing items”.

Clissold had told the author of a court report his offence was “not good, I guess”, an attitude which the prosecutor argued did not demonstrate a great deal of insight into his own behaviour.

He had also seemed to shift some responsibility for his offences to his inebriated state, Mr Wanigaratne argued.

The prosecutor did accept Clissold’s guilty pleas demonstrated remorse and that his involvement in the offences was of a lesser degree than his co-offender’s.

Clissold’s barrister James Maher, who was instructed by Anastasia Qvist from Fortify Legal, said the value of the stolen property was high.

But he argued it was taken from Apple, being a publicly listed company that made $100 billion last year, so it was perhaps not as serious as it if were personal items were taken from a residential address.

READ ALSO Masseur accused of sexually assaulting client after other staff had left clinic

He said his 19-year-old client’s motivations remained opaque, but there was no evidence he was using or was addicted to drugs, nor did he commit the offences out of “sheer greed”. There didn’t seem to be any particular reason, he said.

Mr Maher said there was nothing to suggest Clissold, who is from Gungahlin, wouldn’t comply with a community-based sentence and had a very supportive family.

He also noted the offences were committed about two weeks after his client had turned 18.

Justice Belinda Baker has reserved her decision and will hand down her sentence in the future. Clissold remains on bail.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.