Alleged tanker thief granted bail

A MAFFRA man who allegedly took police on a two-hour chase from Maffra to Mulgrave in a stolen milk tanker last Saturday, has been granted bail.

During a bail hearing on Thursday, a Melbourne court was told Maurice Collie, 20, had the mental capacity of a 13-year-old.

The court heard Collie found the keys inside the 42-tonne milk tanker and started it up, driving off with 22,000 litres of milk, valued at about $76,000. And how, during the 150 kilometre trip Mr Collie even had the audacity, while evading police, to stop and pick up a hitchhiker, a 60-year-old Traralgon man, who was injured when police pulled him from the vehicle during Collie’s arrest.

Police told the court Collie was on bail for other matters and they feared, if granted bail, he would reoffend.

Collie was granted bail on the conditions he report daily to the Maffra police station, live with his father, and adhere to a curfew which prohibits him from leaving the house between 8pm and 6am unless accompanied by his father. Collie is not to leave Victoria.

Collie is facing seven charges in relation to the theft of stealing the Western Star prime mover valued at $130,000 and the 22,000 litres of milk that it contained. His driving offences include driving unlicensed and without a permit and two counts of driving the prime mover without a license while evading the police at high speeds, including placing people in danger of death and injury when the tanker had lost rubber from its left front wheel, and failing to stop for police and driving carelessly.

The case will return for a committal mention on November 21 at the Bairnsdale Magistrates Court.