Teens planned to burn down church

| May 11, 2010

TWO MEN who admitted vandalising an Ipswich church and trying to set fire to a home have escaped lengthy jail terms because of their youth.

Reece Gordon Reed, 19, and Tristan Charles Gimm, 17, broke into Ipswich Region Community Church on October 25 last year and stole six laptop computers and about $500.

The pair kicked down doors and wrote obscenities in black permanent marker, some of which cannot be printed, but included “You've been robbed again haha,” and “oops”, and caused more than $6000 damage.

Ipswich District Court heard Reed and Gimm became worried fingerprint evidence left at the scene would be traced to them so they drove to a nearby service station and bought five litres of petrol in a tin to burn down the church.

But when they returned police were already on the scene.

Crown Prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso said the pair decided to use the already purchased fuel to burn down a Leichhardt home which belonged to someone Reed was having a “feud with”.

Reed and Gimm poured petrol onto a piece of paper and left it flaming on the front step – but luckily it was raining that night and the fire was extinguished.

Ms Kelso said a couple and their two young children were home at the time of the offence but did not discover the charred front steps until the next morning.

But Reed was caught later that night driving home after police pulled him over for failing to stop at a stop sign.

Reed and Gimm pleaded guilty to wilful damage, attempted arson, two charges of breaking and entering a premises and stealing, two charges of attempted unlawful use of a motor vehicle and two charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Gimm also admitted another break-and-enter and Reed admitted unlicensed driving and failing to stop a motor vehicle.

They were both sentenced to two years jail but released on parole immediately with 196 days already spent in custody taken into account.

Judge Gregory Koppenol told Reed and Gimm they would be sent back to jail for a long time if they were a couple of years older.

“If the arson had taken hold it could have had catastrophic effects on the house and the people who were living in it at the time,” Judge Koppenol said.



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Category: Church Security