Armed property owner makes citizen’s arrest after the old switcheroo

A CITIZEN’S arrest has led to the conviction of a man who was caught with a quantity of gardening equipment and motocross gear stolen from a property on the outskirts of Bathurst.

Matthew Stephen Campbell, 46, of Culnane Place, Kelso appeared before Bathurst Local Court on May 28, before Magistrate Ryan, charged with goods in custody suspected of being stolen.

Police facts tendered to the court told how Campbell was arrested by a witness armed with a shotgun after he returned to the property the evening after the break-in.

Among the items stolen from the property were a 2010 KTM 400 EXC motocross motorbike, chainsaw, engine, pole pruner, hedge cutter and extension shaft, motorbike helmet, more motorbikes and motocross riding equipment.

The witness had already contacted police about the theft before he went for a walk around the property and found the missing KTM bike laying on its side in a culvert, covered with branches and foliage.

Police attended the scene, the motorbike was retrieved and it was decided that an old push bike would be put back in the culvert and covered up with foliage. The witness told police he would check on the bike to see if anyone had returned to recover it.

At 7.23pm Wednesday, May 9 police received an urgent job to return to  the property as the witness had the accused in custody where the bike had been hidden.

The witness, who was carrying a shotgun, told Campbell to lay down on the ground as police were coming. As the witness had a shotgun, the accused was compliant.

After speaking with Campbell, police searched a property in South Bathurst where they found a quantity of items stolen from the property under a rear deck.

The accused denied breaking into the property, instead saying he brought the property as a job lot from two unknown males who also told him there was a bike hidden if he wanted it. He said he paid $250 for the property.

Campbell was convicted and placed on a Section 9 Bond for 12 months.