A man accused of stealing more than 1,000 antiques in a spate of break-ins across a nine-year period in the Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands has made a bid for his release.
Mark Ian Anderson dialled into Wollongong Local Court from Silverwater Correctional Complex on Tuesday, facing 33 charges including 14 counts of break, enter and steal.
Formal pleas are yet to be entered. Tendered court documents state the 45-year-old allegedly stole "irreplaceable heritage items" for his own pleasure however they apparently had no value.
The alleged break-ins took place at museums including Batemans Bay Museum, Pioneer Village Museum, Robertson Heritage Railway, Windellama Progress Association Hall, and Milton Millhouse Art Gallery - with the first incident reported in 2014.
The Hume Police District created Strike Force Hornseywood to investigate the alleged thefts. Anderson was arrested at his Fishermans Paradise property on August 3.
Police allegedly found wooden replicas of the Robertson railway museum, a model of Robertson railway precinct, World War II spotlights and a Colt .36 antique pistol - among other items.
Officers claim the items held no value due to their age.
Police will allege Anderson also broke into a Colo home in 2014 by forcing open a kitchen window and making off with brass door handles, crockery, two wall mounted deer heads, a mattress, and an Australian red gum table.
Defence lawyer Michael Bowe argued for bail and described him as a "little man" who had to be moved jails after he was attacked.
"He was stood over by five prisoners who took his items ... as a result he's been put into protective custody in Silverwater," Mr Bowe said.
Mr Bowe said Anderson had struggled with alcohol abuse since sustaining serious physical injuries which led to the collapse of his business, and that he now wanted to live a "peaceful life".
Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Manning opposed Anderson's release, citing risks of endangering the community given the "severity and significant number of offences" before the court.
A $50,000 surety was not enough to convince Magistrate Michael Ong that risks could be mitigated. Anderson was refused bail and he will return to court on October 3.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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