A TEENAGE burglar stopped in his tracks by a have-a-go hero has been released on bail despite magistrates deciding the offence committed was so serious it should be sentenced at Crown Court because its powers are greater.
Plucky Alex Dombrick and his wife were asleep upstairs at their house in St Piran's Close, St Austell when the bungling burglar struck on Saturday night.
Drunken Ryan Stephens, 19, broke in via an unlocked patio door and was about to steal an £800 television when he was tackled by Mr Dombrick, Bodmin Magistrates' Court was told.
Mr Dombrick, alerted to the intruder by his barking dog, struggled with Stephens who dropped the 32in flatscreen television and then fled.
Stephens, formerly of St Petroc's in Truro, was arrested and held in police custody for two nights before his appearance in front of Bodmin magistrates on Monday.
The teenager pleaded guilty to the burglary.
Mike Brown, counsel, agent for the prosecution, said Mr Dombrick had left the patio doors unlocked so that his daughter could get in easily after a night out. He was awoken by the dog barking at 10.45pm. He came downstairs and "jumped on Stephens". There was damage to the TV case when it was dropped but the television itself still worked.
The court heard that Stephens had committed the offence while on a community order and had previous convictions for dishonesty, including burglary, and theft of his mother's laptop.
Mr Brown told the court: "This (offence) was fuelled by alcohol and aggravated by previous convictions. The burglary of a dwelling is serious in itself – these people were asleep in the privacy of their home."
Paul Simons, for the defence, said Stephens was "under no illusions" that the court would treat the offence seriously and that he was likely to face custody.
It was to his credit that after initially fleeing the house "he had later returned to say sorry".
"At the time he was drunk – that was the sole reason (for the offence)," said Mr Simons. "He doesn't know what he would have done with the TV." He said that Stephens had a condition which affects his short-term memory and concentration.
He had complied with a curfew and alcohol treatment appointments imposed in August and had been due to start a bricklaying course at Truro College.
The magistrates told Stephens that the case would be committed for sentence at Truro Crown Court on October 18.
But a prosecution application that Stephens be remanded in custody on the grounds he might commit further offences was rejected. Stephens was bailed with conditions that he must reside at the home of a family friend in Hillside Park, Bodmin, observe a 7pm to 7am curfew every night and must not consume any alcohol.