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Burglar given another chance

Saturday, 22nd March, 2014

A landscape gardener who burgled two Royal Flying Doctor Service houses whose yards he helped maintain has been spared more time behind bars.

Abner Spangler had been in jail or rehabilitation since his arrest in August last year for breaking into the houses and stealing more than $20,000 worth of furniture and electrical goods.

He told police he sold the items - including a dishwasher, fridge, lounge suite, heaters and a television - for money or methamphetamine.   

The 27-year-old is employed by his father whose business services all or most of the houses owned by the RFDS in Broken Hill, and was on bail for drugs and other charges when he committed the burglaries.

He was arrested after forensic police found a palm and thumb print matching Spangler’s on windows of one of the houses in Murton Street.

He pleaded guilty to the second break-in after DNA from a cigarette butt found at the other house in Chloride Street also matched his.

The Flying Doctor Service told police that more than 60 items worth more than $26,000 were stolen in the burglaries.

Yesterday Spangler was sentenced in the Local Court to six months’ jail for those offences and almost three years for supplying and possessing prohibited drugs.  

He also was sentenced to nine months’ jail for dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime.

But Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy set long parole periods for each offence so that Spangler did not have to spend any more time in jail.

Mr Dunlevy said while it would be tempting to send Spangler back to jail for another month or two, he had decided against it because he had good prospects of rehabilitation and “was coming to grips” with his illicit drug problem.

But he warned him that if he breached parole he would end up straight back in prison.

Spangler was also placed on two good behaviour bonds, the longest being for two years, for possessing a knife and an electric stun device.

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