An Illawarra man jailed for helping a mate avoid capture on a murder charge has found himself back behind bars less than three weeks after being released on parole.
Michael Ryan, 31, was sentenced to nine months' jail on June 3 for lending his car and mobile phone to Darren Butler in May last year when Butler was trying to hide from police, who had issued a warrant for his arrest over a fatal fuel tanker crash at Albion Park Rail that killed Daniel Merrett.
However, the nine-month period expired on June 30 after the start of the sentence was backdated to when Ryan was first taken into custody and he was subsequently released on parole.
Documents tendered to Wollongong Local Court reveal police received reports a blue Kia Sportage station wagon had been stolen from EuropCar in Wollongong sometimes on the night of July 13, along with three sets of keys.
Ryan has not been charged with theft and it is not suggested he stole the car.
However, the court documents said officers who were called to a house on Marshall Street in Dapto just before dawn on July 17 discovered the Sportage idling in the home's driveway, with Ryan sitting in the driver's seat.
It is alleged the car had hit a fence, causing the wooden structure to fall over.
Officer said they negotiated for Ryan to get out of the car and he was eventually arrested without incident.
Police allegedly discovered three sets of keys inside the car, which were later identified as belonging to another Kia, a Toyota and a Subaru, all of which are owned by EuropCar.
Other items found in the Sportage's boot and inside a red and black backpack included Ryan's parole paperwork and personal letters addressed to him.
Ryan was taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station and charged with knowingly driving a stolen car and having suspected stolen goods in his custody.
He made admission to being drug-affected at the time, police said.
Ryan pleaded not guilty to both charges in court on Friday and sought release on bail, saying he could live at his parents' house, which had been approved by his parole worker.
However, Magistrate Sally McLaughlin refused to release Ryan, noting the case against him was a strong one.
The matter will return to court on September 1.