Broome court hears details of burglary on pearl farm owned by Fremantle Docker’s family – Michmutters

Broome court hears details of burglary on pearl farm owned by Fremantle Docker’s family

A Broome court has heard details behind a brazen burglary by a group of children on an iconic pearl farm that ended in the theft of more than $70,000 worth of jewelery.

An 18-year-old man appeared before the Broome Magistrates Court on Monday, charged over the burglary on Willie Creek Pearl Farm with four other juvenile co-accused in June.

The farm, owned by the family of Fremantle Dockers midfielder Bailey Banfield, is located at the end of an unsealed road around 40 kilometers out of the Broome town centre.

The court heard the man, who cannot be named to protect the identities of his alleged underage co-offenders, broke into a local caravan park in the early hours of June 11 and stole keys to a Toyota dual-cab ute.

Around an hour later, it is alleged the group drove to the pearl farm in the stolen car and covered their faces with clothing to hide their identities.

The prosecution said the group then used tools to prize open security shutters and smashed the front door open before ransacking the premises and stealing $1,000 cash.

A container full of pearls sits on a bench
Willie Creek Pearl Farm is one of the premier pearl farms in WA’s Kimberley region.(Rural ABC: Courtney Fowler)

They then allegedly went into the showroom and smashed glass panels housing thousands of dollars worth of jewelery and stole an estimated $73,620 worth before fleeing.

The farm’s caretaker alerted police the next morning and officers arrested the 18-year-old a day later and charged him with aggravated burglary and commit, stealing and theft of a motor vehicle.

He was also caught with drug paraphernalia at the time of his arrest but police said much of what was stolen in the burglary was missing.

Police said they had CCTV footage of the group at the farm, and while their faces were covered in the vision, investigators said they had mobile phone footage that appeared to show them wearing the same face coverings later on the night of the burglary.

The forensics unit also uncovered DNA at the scene, police said.

The 18-year-old man has pleaded guilty to all charges.

Broome Courthouse
The man faced a Broome court on Monday.(ABC Kimberley: Tom Forrest)

At Monday’s court hearing, he applied for bail and cited his need to carry out sorry business after the recent death of his great-grandfather.

Magistrate Andrew Maughan granted the application despite the man’s record but imposed a strict curfew that would only allow him to leave his house with his father or his bail support officer.

Mr Maughan said there would be harsh consequences if he broke his bail.

“He may as well take his toothbrush to court if he breaches,” the magistrate said.


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