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June 4, 2023

Goonellabah man allegedly steals ATM, buys BMW

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A Goonellabah man who allegedly stole an ATM and broke into two others netted more than $85,000 he used to buy a luxury BMW convertible, a court has heard.

Craig Anthony Connell appeared in Lismore Local Court on Tuesday facing seven charges including five counts of break enter and steal, knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and disposing of stolen property.

In his first appearance before a court since he was arrested and refused bail by Lismore police on May 10, Mr Connell was represented by solicitor Tom Trembath.

Police allege the 49 year-old broke into five retail businesses between August 2016 and March this year, at Lennox Head, Brunswick Heads and Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast.

The crime spree started on August 2, 2016, when Mr Connell allegedly broke into a shop on Peel Street, Brunswick Heads about 2.23 am.

Once inside it is alleged Mr Connell stole $4164.30 worth of clothing, jewellery and accessories.

Then on January 22 this year, Mr Connell allegedly broke into a shop on Ballina Street at Lennox Head, and stole $700 from the till.

Just over two weeks later, it is alleged Mr Connell broke into a different business on Ballina St, Lennox Head, between 4 pm on February 7, and 5.30 am on February 8.

During that alleged break-in, Mr Connell stole $64,150 from an ATM.

Less than a week later it is alleged Mr Connell used the cash to buy a BMW 328i E36 convertible, sometime between February 9 and 14.

Later that month, Mr Connell’s alleged criminal activity crossed the state border when on February 26, about 3.30 am, he broke into a shop on Chairlift Drive, Mermaid Beach, and stole an ATM containing $10,000, a hand trolley and 50 packets of cigarettes.

Then, on the evening of March 3, Mr Connell allegedly broke into another Brunswick Heads business, this time on Tweed Street, and stole the entire ATM containing $11,630.

Police charges listed the entire value of the ATM and the cash as $20,130.

Following this alleged break and enter, Mr Connell disposed of the stolen ATM at Tweed Heads, police charges stated.

On Tuesday at Lismore Local Court Mr Connell appeared via videolink from prison.

‘I suspect it has been referred to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) based on the quantity of the amounts of money involved,’ Mr Trembath said.

‘The DPP are involved in all matters,’ DPP prosecutor Mr Clarke said.

Mr Trembath said the brief of evidence against Mr Connell was yet to be served.

Mr Heilpern adjourned Mr Connell’s matters until July 4.

Unless he is granted bail before his next court appearance, Mr Connell has been ordered to appear via videolink.


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