Warrawong father caught stealing mail

Credit card statements, electricity bills and personal letters were stolen by a letterbox thief last week as he pocketed the mail of several Warilla residents while high on prescription drugs, a court has heard.

Warrawong father Chad Haselau was spotted peering into numerous letterboxes last Friday night and taking people's unopened mail, stealing more than 20 letters from multiple households.

The court was told the 37-year-old, who pleaded guilty to the thefts yesterday, had overdosed on prescription medicine shortly before the incident and had no recollection of stealing the mail or walking the streets carrying a Swiss army knife.

Opposing Haselau's bid for bail in Wollongong Local Court yesterday, prosecutor Sergeant Robert Casey said police believed Haselau had been pinching the letters to obtain people's personal information.

A witness spotted Haselau taking the mail about 10pm, removing it from letterboxes and then putting it down his shirt.

The witness called police who found Haselau standing on the footpath with a large stack of envelopes in his hand. Officers searched Haselau and discovered a Swiss army knife engraved with the word "Chad" in his hand.

He was arrested and charged with having custody of a knife in a public place, and larceny.

Sgt Casey said the matters were not trivial.

"It's not like he's taken a bottle of rum from a bottle shop, this is people's private mail," he said.

Sgt Casey told the court that if Haselau was granted bail, it was likely he would reoffend.

Solicitor Justine Hall, acting for Haselau, said her client had been stressed as his baby was in Wollongong Hospital and he had foolishly taken too much of his medication.

She said his lack of memory was no excuse for the offences and he knew he had acted in a poor and inappropriate manner.

The court was told Haselau could continue to reside with his sister who was also willing to provide a cash surety.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart refused bail. Haselau is expected to reappear in court on January 23.