‘If you want to be a predator, they will keep a jail cell open for you’ judge tells Towradgi teen

A 19-year-old Towradgi man who “preyed” on his neighboursunder the cover of darkness has been told a jail cell at Nowra’sSouth Coast Correctional Centre will be “waiting for him” if he doesn’t clean up his act.

Jake Smith was handed a14-month prison sentencein the Local Court earlier this year after pleading guilty to stealing one car andbreaking into two others inEast Corrimal in July last year.

On each occasion, Smith left evidence at the scene by way of finger or palm prints which were easily matched by forensic police.

Smith appealed the sentence to Wollongong District Court on Monday, arguing for a longer time on supervised parole to help him reintegrate back into the community.

His lawyer said he was at risk of becoming institutionalised if he remained in custody too long.

Judge Andrew Haesler agreed to reduce the minimum time behind barsto 12 months but confirmed the overall sentence of two years, telling Smith to make the most of his time on parole.

“Maybe as you get older you will wake up to yourself but if you don’t there will be a jail cell waiting for you at South Coast,” he said.

“If you want to be a predator, they will keep a jail cell open for you.”

The court heard Smith broke into two cars and a garage on the evening of July 6, rummaging around inside but not taking anything.

A day earlier officers had found him near a vehiclethat had been reported stolen from a Thirroul supermarket carpark on June 29.

It was towed from the scene and examined by forensic police, who discovered Smith’spalm print on the gear stick.

Smith was arrested but released on bail in August.

However, he breached that bail two weeks later and was again arrested and remanded in custody.

With time served, he will be released next March.

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