Men face court over alleged cash thefts

THREE Ballarat men have been remanded in custody over an alleged $285,000 cash theft at ATMs and $26,000 worth of damages to banks across the region.

Another $12,000 damage is reported to have occurred at businesses the three men allegedly targeted during a four-month crime spree.

Charge sheets show the alleged offending occurred at Clunes, Lake Bolac, Beaufort, Creswick, Skipton, Dunkeld, Ballan and Queenscliff from November to March.

On November 29, the accused stole $189,000 cash from the Beaufort Bendigo Bank and caused $17,000 damage to an ATM.

Another charge states the accused stole $96,000 from the Lake Bolac Bendigo Bank a month later on December 29. The latest alleged attack on the Clunes Newsagency caused $5000 damage to the shopfront.

Grant James Nalder, 34, Martin Locandro, 41, and Robert Stanley Fitzpatrick, 38, were charged last Tuesday and fronted the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The men did not apply for bail during brief separate filing hearings before magistrate Gregory Robinson.

Police stated the offences related to the trio's alleged involvement in targeting ATMs over the past four months with "heavy equipment vehicles, used to crash through street shop fronts, or equipment used to force entry to premises".

Nalder, of Wendouree, has been charged with six counts of burglary, two counts of theft and eight counts of criminal damage.

He is charged with five counts of attempted theft, possessing a prohibited firearm, cultivating cannabis, theft from motor vehicle and other traffic-related offences.

Fitzpatrick, of Haddon, has been charged with six counts of burglary, two counts of theft, eight counts of criminal damage, five counts of attempted theft, and attempted burglary.

Locandro, of Brown Hill, has been charged with six counts of burglary, two counts of theft, eight counts of criminal damage, five counts of attempted theft, and attempted burglary.

The trio were remanded in custody until May 30 for a committal mention.