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      break and enter

      Building manager jailed for stealing hundreds of items from residents – The Law, Defences and Penalties for Break & Enter

      A Sydney strata apartment manager who stole hundreds of items and housed them in an ‘Aladdin’s-cave’ inside the building has been jailed for numerous break and enter offences.

      43-year-old Jaden Hati was arrested in 2019 after Police began investigating a spate of larceny offences in a Pyrmont complex.

      He was bail refused by Police and held in custody while his case proceeded through the Court system.

      Hati was ultimately sentenced to six years imprisonment.

      What happened?

      According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Hati was employed as a building manager for Brookfields GIS since March 2018. BGIS is the estate manager for some of the Jacksons Landing complexes.

      Police alleged that the 43-year-old stole items from underground storage cages of residents in four strata complexes – Knox on Bowman, Silk, Storecutters and Sugar Dock Terraces.

      Hati constructed an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ including a bedroom, laundry and kitchenette in the basement of Sugar Dock, where he was living.

      He watched residents on a hacked CCTV system from his makeshift bedroom to plan his heists. He was also able to duplicate keys and electronic fobs to give non-residents access to the building’s carpark.

      He used the makeshift ‘cave’ to store the stolen goods, and was allegedly also attempting to build a hydroponic set-up to cultivate cannabis in another rainwater tank.

      Given his role as building manager, residents of the Pyrmont complex complained to Hati for a number of months about the disappearance of items.

      GIS discovers their system was hacked

      In November 2019, BGIS discovered that the Jacksons Landing security database had been hacked. After a short investigation they discovered Hati’s fraudulent account and deleted it.

      The Jacksons Landing Community Association wrote to residents after discovering the sophisticated thefts on 22 August 2019. The letter set out that Mr Hati had been “dismissed, arrested and charged”.

      Addressing concerns about whether Hati’s construction could have diminished the structural integrity of the building, they wrote that only “the storage and plenum areas of the Sugar Dock building basement” were affected.

      The residential apartments were unaffected and BGIS said they had plans to return the affected basement area to its original state.

      A further letter to residents was penned on 28 August 2019 where BGIS confirmed that Mr Hati’s employment had been “instantly terminated” when they became aware of the stealing allegations.

      BGIS chief operating officer Henry Arundel wrote, “This individual acted alone and covertly, and our organisation was unaware of his actions”.

      Charged with Break and Enter offences

      Hati was charged with a number of offences, including larceny, conspiracy to cultivate cannabis and possess prohibited drug.

      When news broke of his arrest, residents of the building had different views.

      Mr Hati’s “24/7 presence” at the Bowman Street complex was a concern for some. However, others have positive views of him as he was “always there” and well-versed in repairs and managing on-site contractors.

      The discovery of the stash of stolen property was somewhat fortuitous for Police as they were investigating an unrelated matter.

      An investigation had been commenced into incidents of drug supply in Sydney, specifically the north shore.

      Police tapped the phones of a co-accused and heard references to a ‘cave’ which piqued their interest which led them to Mr Hati, who was believed to have been working with them.

      Officers located Hati and interrogated him about the ‘cave’ which led to him making partial admissions.

      He admitted to giving one of the electronic fobs to a co-accused and also showed them the carpark. But when quizzed on where the ‘cave’ was, he misled police and showed them a different area.

      It was in fact three days later, that detectives from the Local Area Command were able to find the actual location of the cave – on the sixth level below ground.

      Ultimately, three men were arrested at a property in Lane Cove.

      The list of items the subject of the larceny charges included jewellery, bikes, a sound system, power tools, and a snowboard.

      The New Zealand born building manager set up a detailed list of the stolen items on his phone next to similar eBay listings.

      Police located laptops, sports equipment, shoes and even cricket bats signed by Sir Donald Bradman.

      Break and enter sentencing

      The sentencing for break and enter charges occurred before Judge Penelope Hock at Downing Centre District Court.

      Mr Hati’s criminal defence lawyers told the court that their client was battling a drug addiction. It was said that this was how he met the co-offenders.

      It was submitted that the co-offenders ran the operation and Mr Hati was only involved because they had made threats to himself and his ex-wife.

      Judge Hock accepted this but said that the 43-year-old had other options. He could have gone to the Police to report the threats but did not go down this path.

      He was sentenced on four charges of break and enter with intent to commit indictable offence, deal with proceeds of crime and destroy property.

      Hati was sentenced to a head sentence of 6 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 3 years.

      Break and enter charges

      The offence of break, enter and commit serious indictable offence is contained in Section 112(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

      In order to prove the charge, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Accused committed a ‘break’, entered a building and then committed a serious indictable offence.

      A serious indictable offence is any offence that carried a maximum penalty of 5 years jail or more.

      In Mr Hati’s case, the serious indictable offence was ‘larceny’, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

      If the ‘serious indictable offence’ was stealing and the value of what was stolen was equal to or less than $60,000, then Break and enter is a Table 1 offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless you or the prosecution elects to deal with it in the District Court.

      If the value of what was stolen is greater than $60,000, then it is a strictly indictable offence. In this case, it must be finalised in the District Court. Because of the value of the items, Mr Hati’s case was dealt with in the District Court.

      For break and enter charges, the prosecution does not have to establish that an actual breaking of an item (eg. a window or door) occurred.

      In the present case, the use of the electronic fobs for a purpose other than what they were intended would be considered a ‘constructive break’.

      Break and enter charges are extremely serious. That is why it is important to obtain advice from one of Australia’s best break and enter lawyers who has successfully defended hundreds of these charges. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      For more information you can contact our Sydney, Parramatta or Liverpool Criminal Lawyers. We can arrange a conference for you with a Law Society Accredited Specialist in break and enter offences.

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