A Port Kembla man has been jailed for five years for multiple offences, including an armed robbery targeting the owners of Wollongong's San Churro chocolate cafe.
Rhian Kinloch was sentenced at Wollongong District Court on Monday, having pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit a break and enter, supplying a prohibited drug and armed robbery.
The court heard police intercepted multiple damning phone calls in the lead-up to Kinloch's arrest on June 14, 2013, starting with a series of calls almost a month earlier in which Kinloch and his accomplices plotted to break into the Bulli Beach Cafe.
Police were waiting outside the cafe at 1.55am on May 20 when a car carrying Kinloch and four co-accused - all in hooded jumpers - pulled up on a nearby bike track.
A chase ensued but was abandoned when the car carrying the five men crossed onto the wrong side of a Bellambi street.
Kinloch's offending continued on June 1, when he and accomplices followed San Churro's male owner and female manager from the Globe Lane cafe to the manager's Haywards Bay home, at about 1am.
Kinloch had received information about the couple's movements from an employee of the cafe, who has since been sentenced for her involvement. Kinloch, with co-offenders, passed the owners at a speed of about 120km/h on the highway at Yallah.
After the couple parked in their driveway, the gang's red Nissan Pulsar pulled in behind.
One in the group approached the owner and said "this is a robbery - give us your f ... ing money" and hit him with a rubber mallet. The men drove off after collecting items from the couple's car, including a laptop and the woman's handbag.
The court heard Kinloch was implicated in numerous text messages recovered from his phone, including a message he sent at 1.27am: "stop sending texts, it's done", and later: "delete these messages now".
Kinloch was arrested in a Warrawong car park with 12 grams of methamphetamine.
In sentencing, Judge Paul Conlon considered Kinloch's difficult upbringing, which was "marked by instability", according to a report.
He and his siblings were removed from the care of "junkie" parents and made wards of the state at a young age.
Kinloch left school after year 9 and started using ice at 16 or 17.
Judge Conlon found Kinloch's criminal history did not warrant leniency, and noted his crimes were premeditated.
"There was a clear plan to either assault [the San Churro couple] as they got into their vehicle or ... follow them [home]."
Judge Conlon imposed a head sentence of five years, with a three-year non-parole period.
With time already served, he will be eligible for parole on June 13, 2016.