Pub burglar caught by his own DNA

HABITUAL car thief Steve Cowan has received a 13-month jail sentence for breaking into and stealing cigarettes and alcohol from the Drake Hotel, west of Casino.

Cowan, 24, of Coraki, pleaded guilty before the Lismore Local Court on Monday to stealing from the hotel at 2.30am on June 4 last year. He left his blood on broken glass at the crime scene.

Cowan is already serving a jail sentence involving a series of car thefts and riding in stolen motor vehicles during 2007 and 2008, but will still be eligible for release from jail in December.

Magistrate Robyn Denes took into account the hotel robbery occurred around the same time as Cowan’s previous offences and ordered he serve a minimum 85 days non-parole for the Drake offence, to be served concurrently with his jail time for the motor vehicle thefts.

When released Cowan will be on supervised parole for the remainder of his sentence.

Defence lawyer Dannielle Stubbs acknowledged her client was already in jail and she put before the court his limited education and drug and alcohol problems thatbegan when he was aged 15.

Ms Stubbs said that at the time of his offending Cowan’s drug and alcohol problems had been quite significant when he and a mate broke into the Drake Hotel to steal alcohol and cigarettes.

Police facts stated Cowan smashed a glass door panel to gain entry to the hotel causing $5000 damage.

An alarm was set off but the two offenders grabbed five packets of cigarettes and bottles of rum, vodka and red wine. One bottle of vodka was found broken at the scene. The robbery was captured on CCTV footage.

The facts stated Cowan injured himself on the broken glass and blood found by police was later tested and identified as his.

Cowan pleaded guilty in the Lismore Local Court in March to a series of car thefts at Grafton, South Lismore and Goonellabah.

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