7 March 2024

Police allege burglar returned to home twice before being caught with resident's cannabis plant

| Albert McKnight
Court Coat of Arms

The Magistrates Court has refused bail to alleged burglar Colin Maxwell Booth and remanded him in custody. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man allegedly burgled a north Canberra home twice before he was caught “red-handed” when the home’s resident found him in his backyard carrying his cannabis plant.

Colin Maxwell Booth, 39, of Spence, has been handed two counts of burglary over the allegations, while he also faces unrelated charges.

A warrant had been issued for his arrest in February after he allegedly failed to show up to court, then in the early hours of 3 March, a home in Spence was allegedly burgled, court documents say.

The residents said several items were stolen in the burglary, including a wallet, house keys and a key to their car.

Then, early on Wednesday morning (6 March), the man who lived at the home was sitting in his living room when he said he heard a noise from outside, so he went out to investigate.

He said he saw a gate was open, dismissed the incident and was returning inside when he heard another noise coming from his carport.

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He began yelling and allegedly saw Booth standing near their car before the latter ran into the backyard.

A neighbour heard the commotion and arrived to help. They went into the backyard where they allegedly saw Booth carrying a cannabis plant that had been cut from the man’s backyard.

It is alleged a scuffle broke out when the pair approached Booth and they physically restrained him to stop him from leaving while they called police.

Officers arrived shortly afterwards and arrested Booth. When they searched him, they allegedly found him with pliers, cutters, a knife, scissors and the items that had been stolen from the home on 3 March.

He appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court later on Wednesday and applied for bail, which the prosecution opposed.

“He’s sort of caught red-handed, isn’t he?” Magistrate Alexandra Burt remarked when discussing the second alleged burglary.

“These type of offences do concern the community.”

Booth’s defence lawyer proposed “very restrictive” bail conditions, which would order him to not leave his father’s home except in the company of his family or for legal purposes.

READ ALSO Ex-real estate worker, drug dealer sentenced for roles in hammer-wielding robbery

The lawyer said his client had caring responsibilities for his father, who had health issues. His client also has an acquired brain injury due to a car crash in 2010.

Prosecutor Harry Wagner said Booth had already been on conditional liberty at the time of the alleged burglaries and he expressed concern over the “repeat nature” of the allegations.

Magistrate Burt said it appeared he had experienced a period of stability when he was not using substances, but things had “deteriorated since then”.

She was concerned about alleged reoffending and thought there was nothing in place to reduce the risks. Bail was refused and the matter was adjourned to 25 March. No pleas were entered.

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