Man went on 3-week crime spree: court

An accused serial thief who went to spectacular lengths to evade police, including jumping out of a second-storey window, appeared in Wollongong Local Court yesterday, charged with a string of break-ins netting thousands of dollars worth of property.

Craig Douglas Thompson, of Berkeley, faces 43 counts of stealing property and fraud after he allegedly went on a three-week crime spree in November, breaking into several homes and stealing everything from perfume to a Jaguar car.

Police claim the 41-year-old attacked an elderly couple during one break-in, throwing a 64-year-old woman against a wall and repeatedly punching a 66-year-old man in the jaw when they disturbed him stealing from their home.

Officers had been searching for Thompson for weeks, but he was allegedly actively dodging arrest, fleeing in a car when police approached him on December 4 before he leapt out of a second-storey window to avoid detection.

It is alleged Thompson first struck on November 5, breaking into a woman's Wollongong unit and pinching her handbag and keys, which he used to steal her car.

Police claim Thompson then used the woman's stolen credit cards to buy nearly $360 worth of items at nearby service stations.

On November 9, Thompson allegedly cut the flyscreen from a window in a Railway Crescent, North Wollongong, home as the occupants slept upstairs.

He then stole a handbag and used the owner's keys to steal a $15,000 car and its contents, including jewellery and perfume, the court heard.

It is alleged Thompson struck again the following day, breaking into a Corrimal St unit and stealing a stash of items before making off with the owner's silver Jaguar.

On November 13, Thompson allegedly broke into the elderly couple's unit, pocketing credit cards, a phone and $400 cash before the man woke up and found Thompson in the lounge room.

Police claim the man lunged and grabbed Thompson as the latter swung a handbag at the man and repeatedly struck him in the head.

The woman was woken by the commotion and tried to intervene but Thompson allegedly hit her several times with the bag before he grabbed her and threw her into a wall.

When Thompson tried to jump out a window, the man pulled him back inside, causing Thompson to repeatedly punch him in the jaw.

It is alleged Thompson carried out his last break-in on November 23, raiding a house in Towradgi before he used a woman’s credit card to withdraw nearly $2000 from her accounts.

He was arrested on Boxing Day and allegedly caught with a cache of car keys.

Making a bid for bail yesterday, solicitor Angela Melouney said there was a lack of evidence linking her client to the offences but he was willing to report to police and offer a surety.

Registrar Tina McKenna refused bail and adjourned the matter to January 2.