Man pleads guilty to foiled Dignam Real Estate burglary

A month ago, ‘reformed’ con Russell Bullivant was a dedicated community man, working diligently for Mission Australia’s award-winning mattress recycling program, Soft Landing.

Then, two nights before Christmas, under the cover of darkness, this career-criminal turned law-abiding citizen converted back to his old ways.

Armed with an array of tools favoured by would-be house thieves, Bullivant turned up at the Dignam Real Estate office in Bulli just after 1am and set about trying to make his way inside.

A neighbour, woken by her dogs barking, peered through her bedroom window to see Bullivant walk through the backyard of the premises and up to a rear glass door.

He began to bang on the door, prompting the woman to phone police.

It didn’t take long for officers to discover Bullivant, who had chosen to hide in a grassy patch near the property fence line.

When asked what he was doing at the premises, Bullivant replied “playing in the dirt”.

He was arrested on the spot.

When asked what he was doing, Bullivant replied “playing in the dirt”

Police facts in the matter of Russell Bullivant

Police searched a black bag he had with him, uncovering a host of tools including two 30cm-long carving knives, three spanners, two claw hammers, a saw blade and 11 screw driver fittings.

Officers saw the handle on the rear door was missing – it was also found in Bullivant’s bag.

Bullivant was taken to Wollongong Police Station and charged with being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, having custody of a knife and property damage, the latter relating to a hole discovered in the glass door, believed to have been inflicted using one of the claw hammers.

He was remanded in custody.

In court on Tuesday, Bullivant pleaded guilty to all three charges.

The court heard Bullivant was a repeat criminal offender who had racked up a considerable rap sheet in his 47 years.

His case was adjourned to January 17 for sentencing.