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Sweaty burglar gets hard time

Saturday, 17th June, 2017

By Craig Brealey

A hard-working burglar who smashed through a ceiling and cut open a steel door with an angle grinder to get to a club’s safe has been jailed for a year.

Reginald Betts, from South Australia, ran out of the Sturt Club when the alarm went off, snatching bottles of booze as he fled, and when police caught him he was “sweating profusely” and covered in dust.

Twenty-six-year-old Betts pleaded guilty yesterday in the Local Court to the charge of breaking into the club about 3am on January 12 this year.

Betts has a string of convictions for burglary in Adelaide and SA country towns and had served time in jail.

Police said he had climbed onto the club’s roof, got in through an unlocked manhole, and crawled along the air conditioning duct until he reached the ceiling above the assistant manager’s office.

He then smashed a hole in the suspended ceiling, dropped down and ransacked the office. From there he broke through a door into the general manager’s office and rifled through all the cupboards and draws before finding an angle grinder under a desk.

Using this, he cut through a metal door into the next room where there were two safes but this triggered the alarm and he fled with an ipad, two electronic tablets, a jewellery box containing three watches, and three bottles of spirits that he grabbed on the way out.

Police arrived in time to see him jump a fence in the back lane and when they caught him about an hour later hiding in a car park he had the loot in a backpack, along with a hammer and a screwdriver.

They said the dust in which he was covered was identical to that found all over the assistant manager’s office.

When Betts gets out of jail he will have to serve nine months on parole.

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