Breaking and Entering Offences in NSW

Sahar Adatia.

 

For most burglars, a break-in is a clear case of premeditated, meticulous planning, executed swiftly with a prompt getaway.

From entering the property to clutching valuables and fleeing as inconspicuously as possible, every step has an intention.

Well, for most home-breakers, that is.

In a case of bizarre burglary, an intruder in California decided he would break into a couple’s home in the town of Meadow Vista – and just casually take a shower.

Not a worry in the world or a concern that maybe breaking into somebody’s home and helping yourself to a shower, is, perhaps, against the law.

Talk about inviting yourself over – and overstaying your welcome, right?

Let’s unpack this…

 

“About as Surreal as it Could Get”: How the Incident Unfolded

 According to reports from news outlet CNN, around 11pm on Thursday 10th June 2021, Steve Baker and his wife were resting in their Meadow Vista home when they were suddenly woken up by the strange sounds of running water in their bathroom.

Startled and in a state of fright, Mrs Baker nudged her husband to go and inspect what was going on.

The homeowner grabbed his gun and cautiously strode over to the bathroom.

But he was left more than a little stupefied when, en route, he ran into the house-breaker walking down his stairs – wearing nothing but a towel because he had just helped himself to a shower.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Baker said the man managed to break into the couple’s home by using a garden ornament he spotted – namely a ceramic bunny rabbit – to shatter a glass panel in the door, before reaching his hand inside and allowing himself in.

Mr Baker also recalled the sheer terror his wife felt upon hearing the running water, and the fact that he forgot to put his shorts on amid the commotion.

“She woke me up and in a panicked way said, ‘Get the gun, there’s somebody upstairs’,” Mr Baker said.

“I grabbed the gun. I don’t keep it loaded, but I can do it pretty darn quickly and that’s what I did, and to be quite honest, walked out first, forgot my shorts, so my wife helped me with that.”

Indeed, that could have resulted in an even more awkward encounter given the burglar was also in a state of undress.

Mr Baker then quickly made his way to the stairs before the uncanny meeting would take place.

“I got to the bottom of the stairs, and as I start to turn around the stairs, he was coming down the stairs wrapped in a towel,” Mr Baker said.

“About as surreal as it could get!”

Utterly flabbergasted, he questioned the seemingly young intruder.

“I said, ‘What on earth are you thinking?’

“Because it’s a 24-year-old kid, and he responded saying, ‘I had to.'”

 

Shower-Taking Intruder Held at Gunpoint While Wife Calls Police

While Mr Baker was left to wrap his head around the whacky situation, his wife called the police.

Waiting for officers to arrive, he held the burglar at gunpoint to ensure he didn’t try and do a runner.

The intruder, identified as 25-year-old Carrola Tiago-Freitas, was arrested at the scene and has since been charged with breaking and entering into a property.

Meanwhile, Mr Baker believes the burglar was lucky it was not anyone else’s home the young man broke into as things could have unravelled a lot worse for the suspect.

“He’s lucky, because someone else could’ve shot him,” the homeowner said, adding that police were “looking for evidence”.

“They went to the dining room table and there’s the bunny with a piece of glass right next to it.”

Break and Enter Offences in NSW

Breaking and entering into a dwelling-house is against the law and can potentially leave you facing heavy penalties.

The law prescribes up to 14 years imprisonment for breaking and entering any dwelling-house or other building where the offender also commits a serious indictable offence therein, according to section 112 of the Crimes Act 1900.

However, this penalty increases to 20 years in jail if the person commits the break and enter offence in “circumstances of aggravation” – which include factors such as the offender being armed with an offensive weapon, being in the company of another person, or causing actual bodily harm to a person.

Furthermore, where the offence takes place in “circumstances of special aggravation”, the maximum penalty again increases to 25 years in jail.

“Circumstances of special aggravation” include factors such as the offender knowingly causing grievous bodily harm to a person, and being armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the offending.

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