11 February 2021

Scaffolder admits to burglary spree in Canberra using 'toy firearm'

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

Dale Mitchell Goesch has pleaded guilty to burglary-related charges. Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media.

A scaffolder who had a $100-a-day meth habit and went on a burglary spree in Canberra with a “toy firearm” has been spared an extended stay in jail after he admitted to the offences.

Last December, Dale Mitchell Goesch pleaded guilty to a raft of charges including attempted robbery, theft, possessing a prohibited firearm, damaging property and possessing stolen property, as well as two counts of burglary.

In the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (10 February), the prosecutor in the matter said the 29-year-old had gone on a burglary spree with a “toy firearm” that, while not a real gun, had the “capacity to create fear and danger”.

He said after Goesch was arrested he spent 108 days in custody ending in December last year. He requested a compensation schedule be introduced so he would pay for damage to a garage door and a car.

READ ALSO Burglar apologises as he robs the same house on consecutive days

Magistrate Glenn Theakston summarised the robberies at the two homes, saying the spree began early one morning in August 2020 when Goesch entered a house in Canberra and took some items while a man inside was watching television.

When Goesch attempted to steal a car, the resident confronted him by pulling open the car door, but Goesch punched the man in the head and ran away while dropping some items. Another person saw him carrying what appeared to be a black handgun. He also stole more items from a second home.

Police saw him putting a black gun behind industrial bins before he was arrested. When Goesch was in custody, he was found to have items in his possession including jewellery, keys and money.

The police facts say the gun turned out to be a 6 mm BB calibre WE Airsoft self-loading pistol with a shortened barrel, a replica firearm, and Magistrate Theakston said Goesch had no licence or permit allowing him to carry it.

Magistrate Theakston said it was concerning Goesch committed the burglaries at a residential location when it was expected people would be at home, saying the residents involved would be impacted and could be experiencing anxiety as a result of the offender’s actions.

Goesch’s lawyer said his client had a limited criminal history and it was after a family member had died from cancer that he began to struggle.

The lawyer said the 108 days Goesch spent in custody had been “a wake-up call to him” and the “big carrot dangling in front of him” now was being able to care for his two children.

Magistrate Theakston accepted after the death of Goesch’s family member two years ago he had a relapse with his drug use and at one point was using $100-worth of methamphetamines a day, but a drug test from earlier this month showed he was now clean.

Goesch was sentenced to over 12 months in jail to be completed by an intensive correction order, which means it will be served under supervision in the community.

He was ordered to repay the owner of the car and garage he damaged $3700 in compensation.

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